England coach Fabio Capello is confused by his sudden transformation from a “god” to a “monster” since his team faltered at the World Cup.
Preparing for European Championship qualifying, a combative Capello fought back against claims by pundits and columnists in England that he is a clueless coach lacking the tactical ability to turn the team into title winners.
Ahead of the World Cup, when the Italian presided over nine out of ten victories in qualifying, comparisons were being drawn with Alf Ramsey, who led England to their only world title in 1966.
However, the team was inert throughout the tournament in South Africa and went home after being outclassed by Germany in a 4-1 second-round loss.
Capello may have clung onto his lucrative England contract, which runs through to Euro 2012, but the hostile headlines have persisted as the team prepared for its first competitive match since the World Cup against Bulgaria last night.
The former AC Milan and Real Madrid coach accepts he is unable to control public perceptions of him, preferring instead to remember the past achievements before the media turned on him.
“You create the god, and you create the monster,” Capello quipped in broken English at a briefing on Thursday. “We lost one game in the World Cup against Germany after one big mistake for the referee [disallowing a goal]. You don’t remember this. I think so.”
“But after this, your opinion about me changed completely. You wrote a lot of things different, but I live with this situation,” he said.
“It’s no problem for me. I remember what you wrote about me a short time before this period. I live the same moment when you write well of me as when you write badly of me. It’s my job. You have to live with the pressure,” the Italian said.
Many critics have denounced the 64-year-old Capello for being a tactical dinosaur for rigidly retaining a 4-4-2 formation and FIFA’s tactical study of the tournament, which was released on Thursday, concluded that “the most successful teams were flexible and able to adapt their style of play to the match situation.”
Capello’s critics maintain that such flexibility is lacking in his game plan, but the coach hit back when a reporter started to ask whether the FIFA comments applied to England.
“You are a lot of managers, a lot of managers. I’ve read that,” Capello said. “Where is the different style? 9-1? Teams play 9-1.”
“Where is the different style? Is there a difference between 4-4-2, 4-5-1 or 9-1? You are happy to write different numbers. One forward, nine defenders. Five attacking? Five defending? That’s the modern style,” he said.
“You can see Barcelona, other teams. All the players have to defend, all the players have to go forward. That’s the modern style, and we played this style, always,” Capello said. “When you win you play the perfect style. When you lose you question positions on the pitch. Why, why, why? That’s good. It’s your job. It’s my job to find the best solution.”