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Capello: I don't care what the players do off the pitch as long as they win; MONTENEGRO v ENGLAND QUALIFYING GROUP G, TONIGHT, 8PM.


FABIO CAPELLO has seen, from 12,000 miles away, the scandals unravel.

Late-night drinking sessions in bars where dwarf-tossing is on the menu.

Lies about assignations well past midnight.

Injuries aggravated by bungee-jumping players.

Complaints from aggrieved hotel maids over lewd suggestions.

As a man who spent the first two years of his coaching career working with AC Milan's rugby team, the Italian is not shocked. Indeed, he seems to feel, it is par for the course where the 15-a-side code is concerned.

But, more importantly, for Capello and his Three Lions, the big lesson is the one that Martin Johnson and his side have been grinding out in new Zealand. That if you win, you can get away with almost anything.

Capello will not let his players off the leash if they do their duty against Montenegro - although his message is that england must smash their way through the front door to euro 2012, rather than sneak in the tradesman's entrance.

Yet the Italian, pragmatic to the core, accepts that perceptions of off-field behaviour are ultimately determined by what you achieve on the pitch.

Capello said: "When you win, everything is good, the perfect choice, the best choice.

"even if you go for a drink or out with women, everything is good, if you win.

"But when you lose, it's a disaster. The results are the most important thing.

"everything is good when you win. The other things are wrong when you lose.

"Look at the World Cup, when it was said we were together too long.

"The Dutch team stayed together from May 10, far longer than we did.

"They were together for two months, more or less. And you saw what happened.

"It was fine because they finished second and could have won the final if they'd taken their best chance.

"So every choice is good when you win.

"As I said, only when you lose, is it a disaster.

"I do not think it is talking about looking for excuses.

"But it is all about results.

They determine the questions."

Capello, who hinted at a more safety-first approach to his selection, despite the temptation to blood both Phil Jones and Danny Welbeck, added: "If you're doing things like bungee-jumping and nobody is injured, it is good.

"But also I know very well what rugby players are like. They are... different. You know better than me what they do."

John Terry believes Johnson's handling of the controversies has helped bond his squad together.

And the england skipper revealed Capello's chief lieutenant Franco Baldini blocked him and Joe Cole from diving into a shark cage in Cape Town on safety grounds.

Terry and company know they will not be allowed to behave in anything like the same manner in Ukraine and Poland - assuming the task of getting to next summer's finals is accomplished in the Podgorica City Stadium.

england only need a draw but Capello insists that playing for a point is not viable. He is determined to finish qualifying on a high.

"My desire is to be the manager at the euros," he said. "Absolutely. I do not want to talk about what will happen there until we have qualified because that is my superstition but I've got a contract.

"For this game, I spoke with the players and told them: 'You need to play to win the game with the same style you have played away from home, and don't think about a draw'.

"Going out on the pitch to draw, you play to waste time and just for ball possession. That would be the biggest mistake we could make.

"We need the point to be sure to qualify in first place. This is important.

"But you need to play to score goals, to go forward, not just to defend, not only for ball possession."

england and Capello need, more than anything, to send out a message of intent.

Scraping through is not good enough. What is required is style, conviction, quality. Then they can do whatever they want.

England will qualify with a point tonight. But if Capello's men lose (and Montenegrothen beat Switzerland on Tuesday to win the group) England will face a twolegged play-off on November 11-12 and Tuesday, November 15.



The Manchester City defender (right) has had limited openings for his new club this season but scored at Blackburn.


The Fiorentina forward has scored seven goals in 16 appearances. Idolises Roberto Baggio. Is a danger from deep.


A national hero. He plays for Juventus, the main threat and once took his shorts off as part of a goal celebration.


WE'RE IN MONTE-LEGRO The England stars stretch their legs during warm-up at the City Stadium last night
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUE
Date:Oct 7, 2011
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