Bilic Has Done My Team Talk

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Fabio Capello has offered Croatia boss Slaven Bilic a vote of thanks – for doing his team talk for him!

Outspoken Bilic has been winding up England all week ahead of tonight’s World Cup qualifier.

Bilic told SunSport that captain John Terry should look at his own club, Chelsea, before accusing Croatia and Arsenal striker Eduardo of being a diver.

And he claimed the Three Lions had lost their ‘Englishness’ suggesting they no longer possessed the fighting spirit which used to make them feared.

That was despite the fact Capello’s men thumped Croatia 4-1 in Zagreb last October. Capello does not usually take any notice of what the opposition say but on this occasion he has made an exception.

He exclaimed: “Thank you, Mr Bilic. No more. It is the best. I have no need to motivate my players after this.

“He prepared the game. He tried to provoke a reaction. It is fantastic assistance. Thank you. I’m very happy for this because I don’t need to motivate my players for the match. I will simply tell them to remember what Bilic said.”

Capello comprehensively dismissed Bilic’s claims that his team had lost its spirit. How, he wondered, could that possibly be with a 100 per cent qualifying record of seven wins out of seven.

The Italian said: “I like the English spirit and have seen it in a lot of games that we’ve played.

“It’s impossible to win without spirit. We suffered sometimes during first halves and played better second halves, and it would have been impossible to do that without spirit.”

Bilic masterminded a 3-2 win at Wembley for Croatia two years ago – a result which put England out of Euro 2008.

Ahead of tonight’s Wembley showdown, Capello added: “A team like England not qualifying for a Euro or World Cup is really a terrible thing for the players and the clubs.

“For that reason I think the motivation we will have is even more important. We have three finals to play.

“Croatia is the first of them and, after that, we play Ukraine and have the last game at home against Belarus.

“We have to win one of these three games to qualify, or draw some. The most important thing is to arrive first in the group and get to South Africa.

“I’ve not seen the video of the game against Croatia two years ago, absolutely not.

“I can’t understand why I should speak about it. I have to motivate the players for now.

“I always study the recent games that have been played, not what happened so far in the past.

“That is history, for the archives. I am preparing the next game, not the old games. Anyway, I think they forgot about this game the night they won 4-1 in Zagreb.”

Croatia come to Wembley wanting a win themselves to improve their qualifying chances but are without five key players including Spurs duo Luka Modric, who has a broken leg, and the suspended Vedran Corluka.

But Capello believes the Croats have a strong enough squad to cope.

He said: “Sometimes we’ve played without really important players.

“The group of the Croatians is always really good.

“I saw the game they played at the weekend against Belarus and they won playing well.”

Ironically Capello owes his £6million-a-year England role to the Croatia defeat which got Steve McClaren the sack.

He was brought in to restore pride and credibility and now stands on the brink of accomplishing the first part of his brief, qualifying for next summer’s World Cup finals.

From then on it’s all about getting to the actual final itself.

Capello added: “I think that is the dream of any manager.

“But my dream is first to go to South Africa – that was the goal when I came here. After, there will be another dream.

“People said that, with Croatia, it would be a very difficult group psychologically, so I wanted to give the players belief.

“I have big confidence in my team, really. I said this always.”

Usain Bolt will be the special guest at Wembley tonight.

Who better than the fastest man on the planet to inspire England over the line?

The Sun

~ by footballdirecta on September 9, 2009.

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