Capello not to blame - Gerrard

2010-08-10 16:35

Watford - England captain Steven Gerrard insists supporters should take out their World Cup frustrations on the players and not under-fire boss Fabio Capello.

Capello has already admitted he and his players deserve to be booed by England supporters when they return to action in a friendly against Hungary at Wembley on Wednesday.

But Gerrard believes the criticism Capello has endured since England bowed out of the World Cup against Germany is unfair and the Liverpool midfielder is adamant it is his team-mates who should be in the firing line.

Asked if he would boo England if he was a fan, Gerrard said: "Probably. I'm expecting a mixed reaction. I'm sure there will be boos at times.

"We have to deal with that. We have to be men. We have to take it on the chin. We deserve it. We let the fans down in the World Cup.

"It's obvious to everyone that it didn't work out for us. But we can't just shift all the blame on the manager in these situations. The players go on to the pitch. We have to take it on our chins together.

"Fabio is the manager, all the players listen carefully to what he has to say and take it on board.

"The manager has experience in these situations. I've got big faith in him. It would be stupid and naive not to still have that confidence. He is a fantastic manager."

A well below capacity crowd of around 60,000 is expected at Wembley on Wednesday, with some England fans reported to be planning to show their displeasure at the team by walking out five minutes before half-time.

Gerrard acknowledges the situation looks bleak at the moment and he believes the only way to win back the trust of the fans is to put together a series of good performances and results in the forthcoming Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.

"After a World Cup when you take a lot of criticism you reflect on what went wrong. It wasn't acceptable as a group," Gerrard said.

"At the moment I'm hurting as a player and I'm sure everyone else is as well.

"We want to slowly try to build the belief and confidence with the supporters because at the moment it is not a good situation.

"There are no excuses at all. The simple message is we have to show how sorry we are by our performances on the pitch.

"I'm not going to say it isn't difficult playing for England now because it is.

"Results haven't gone the way we would have liked. Things can change round. In three or four games hopefully we will have everyone's confidence back."

Capello admitted this week that England's players have a mental weakness when it comes to dealing with the pressure of big international matches and Gerrard agrees that the fear factor played a part in their World Cup flop.

"Maybe it is the case," he said. "But you have to take that on your shoulders when you are playing with England.

"We have the best support and massive media coverage. You have to deal with that. We need to study where we went wrong on the pitch. The mental side will only improve with winning games."

With that in mind, Gerrard is convinced Capello was right to keep faith with the majority of the star players who underachived in South Africa.

The Italian has called up uncalled Arsenal duo Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs, as well as untried Fulham striker Bobby Zamora, but Gerrard says those rookies may struggle without the help of experienced internationals.

"It would be very unfair on these young lads if they were all thrown in at the deep end together without any experienced players," he said.

"You need the right mix. Hopefully they can help by freshening things up. Then we can regroup, get a positive result and start the rebuilding process.

"I've got total confidence in the players around me that we can change things around and become a good England team in the future."