Fabio Capello admits banishing the fear factor has been the key to England’s success during his reign.
Capello led England to next year’s World Cup in South Africa in impressive fashion as his side won nine of their 10 qualifying matches.
But the sky-high morale around England is a complete contrast to the shattered group of players Capello found when he took over from Steve McClaren after they failed to qualify for Euro 2008.
“I remember the first training session and I was surprised because the players were really good,” Capello said on Friday at the Global Sport Summit in London.
“And I thought ‘What has happened here, they are good players so why are they not playing in the European Championships?’.
“I understood everything when they played Switzerland in the first match, the same players who played well in training played with fear, with no confidence, and I said this is a big problem of the mind. Step by step, game after game, we have improved a lot.”
Capello quickly took control of his new players by introducing rules that made it clear they would have to all arrive together to eat, while mobile phones and flip-flops are banned at meal times.
He believes instilling respect between players allows them to work better on the pitch.
“I don’t understand why anyone would not respect the coaches or other people you work with,” he said.
“I cannot understand why 20 players have to wait for two players that arrive too late or why they don’t respect the rules.”
He also admitted he is frustrated by the amount of diving in the game today but would find it hard to “kill” one of his players if they won a penalty in controversial circumstances.
“I don’t like the divers, never. The spirit of sport is to win correctly,” he added.
“Sometimes the decision of the referees is not good but I don’t like divers. I cannot kill him (an England player who dived) but I don’t like this, I don’t like diving.”
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