England manager Fabio Capello admitted on Friday that he has been stunned by the progress made by a team which was in utter disarray when he took over in February.
When he succeeded the hapless Steve McClaren, who failed to qualify for the Euro 200 finals, Capello realised the task he faced when his new charges laboured to victory against Switzerland at Wembley.
But since then, England have won four successive World Cup qualifiers for the first time in their history and then brought the curtain down on 2008 with a 2-1 win over Germany in Berlin on Wednesday.
“We are further forward than I thought we would be after our first year,” said Capello.
“I always watched the Premier League, so I knew the players. But when we played against Switzerland I understood the work was going to be very hard. It was a very big job.”
Plenty of thoughts went through Capello's mind in the days afterwards as he analysed what he had taken on, but depression was not one of them.
“I was not depressed,” he added. “It was a challenge but that is the reason I am here.
“I am very happy because we have taken one step forward with every game.”
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