Apologetic Capello says winter break is essential
Fabio Capello has apologised for England's poor performances at the World Cup and will understand if his side are booed in Wednesday's friendly against Hungary, but the Italian says England's future international prospects will only improve if a winter break is introduced.
On Saturday, Capello announced his first squad since England's exit in the second round of the World Cup, with Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs and Bobby Zamora the uncapped trio in a selection that retains only ten of the players who travelled to South Africa.
England were roundly criticised for some disappointing performances at the finals before their participation was brutally ended by Germany in a comprehensive 4-1 defeat. Capello recognises his side failed to live up to expectations and has no complaints if supporters voice their frustrations at Wembley on Wednesday.
"I want to say sorry to the fans who joined us in South Africa," Capello said. "I know they spent a lot of time and money and I am really sorry, but we have to look forward now to the Euro qualification.
"This is not a good period for me, but I am looking forward. It is our job. I will understand if the supporters boo on Wednesday. They had a lot of confidence in the team and the results weren't possible. I am also disappointed because my target was to reach the final, and we didn't play."
England struggled in the group stages when drawing 1-1 with USA and 0-0 with Algeria, only sneaking through to the second round courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Slovenia in their final game. It was a sharp contrast to their impressive performances in qualifying when England won nine out of ten games.
Capello now admits that he knew England's fitness was not at the required level prior to the finals, and believes only the introduction of a winter break will ensure the country can fulfill their potential in summer tournaments.
"I was very happy with the way we qualified," Capello said. "We played the last game in March and the players were in a good situation. But when we played the friendly games before the World Cup, the players were not in the same condition. They were not the same physically.
"We knew the problem before the World Cup. As soon as we started to play I could see we were tired, in the games against Mexico, Egypt, and against Japan. Even in the last friendly in South Africa. The level of the games was always the same and I was worried. We tried to do everything we could.
"I spoke to the doctors and the physios but it was impossible to improve the situation. I spoke with my staff but I could not come out and say I was worried because the players read everything and that would not have been good psychologically. I prefer not to speak about players letting me down because my philosophy is that you win together and you should lose together, but South Africa was a mentality problem too.
"Germany are always in good condition at World Cups because the Bundesliga is suspended for a month. In Italy, Spain and other countries they have two weeks, but in England it is impossible because we have four competitions. Other countries have three, but in England all the competitions are really hard and the same teams arrive at the final. They are the teams with the best players, and they are the players I need.
"It is impossible to find a break in winter, but we have to change something before the next tournament. If the players are physically fit in Poland and Ukraine it won't be so hard. Just a rest would help. I remember when Denmark won the European Championships in 1992. They were on the beach and arrived four days before the first game because Yugoslavia dropped out. It might not have been great preparation but at least they were not tired."
Capello also admitted that he could have had few complaints had the Football Association decided to sack him following England's World Cup disappointment.
"The day after the Germany game, I spoke with Sir Dave Richards in South Africa," Capello said. "I told him what I think and said 'you have to decide (on my future)'.
"I thought a lot about the situation but I'm a fighter and I've never quit in my career. I always look forward. I thought about different solutions and, after I spoke with Sir Dave, I decided to stay here.
"I want to go forward and to improve and to play the Euros because for me they will be very important. I preferred to stay. But, if the FA decided to sack me. I would have understood it.''