McClaren upbeat despite growing injury list

November 16, 2007

England manager Steve McClaren also expressed his disappointment after Michael Owen limped out of the friendly with Austria and possibly the European Championships, as the Newcastle striker will miss Wednesday's possibly crucial, possibly meaningless, final qualifier with Croatia.

Owen joins Wayne Rooney and John Terry on the injured list, while Rio Ferdinand is suspended for Wednesday's match.

'It's a massive blow but injuries are part of football,' McClaren told Sky Sports 1.

'It's unfortunate but I do believe we need to win on Wednesday to qualify.

'We go into the match without two centre-halves and two centre-forwards but, if it comes to it, I believe there is enough spirit.'

The former Middlesbrough boss was frustrated by his team's efforts in the second half but was eager to stress the heartening aspects of the game.

'It was important that we came through it and won it,' he said.

'In the first half, we got quite a lot out of it. It was good but we could have scored more.

'The second half disappointed me in some ways. I expected us to go on the attack and get more goals but we were disappointing in the second half.

'But there were plusses. Scott (Carson) kept a clean sheet, (Joleon) Lescott and Sol (Campbell) were formidable and Frank (Lampard) on his return to the team was man of the match and rightly so.'

McClaren went on to brush aside any concerns over his future in charge of the side, insisting qualification was his only concern.

'I'm not worried about that (being sacked) at the present moment,' he said.

'It's just about results. It's over after 12 games, not after 10 or 11. We'll see what happens tomorrow night.

'There's still games to go - a difficult game for Russia, a difficult game for Croatia and Macedonia.

'We have to hope results go our way. It's happened before in the past and it can happen again.'