Fabio Capello insisted there was no chance of him quitting after England stumbled to a goalless draw with Montenegro which left their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign on a knife-edge.
While England have five more games to try and win an automatic qualifying berth at the top of Group G, Capello acknowledged his team had left themselves with little margin for error after their lacklustre display at Wembley.
Montenegro now lead the group with 10 points from four matches, with England trailing in second by three points having played one game fewer. England resume their qualification bid in March next year when they travel to Cardiff to face Wales in what is certain to be a testing local derby.
Yet the sternest test may well come in the Montenegrin capital of Podgorica next October, where Capello's men play their final qualifying match. "Every game now will be tough," Capello admitted. "The next game will be really important in Wales."
After their buoyant start to the qualification round last month, when first Bulgaria and Switzerland were swatted aside with ease, Tuesday's performance revived memories of England's dismal World Cup stalemate with Algeria. Capello insisted however that England remained a "good team", despite the paucity of their play for much of the Montenegro game.
"I think we are a good team. It's one game," Capello said. "This is usually what happens when we play a not so normal game." Asked if he would be tempted to quit the England job, Capello was emphatic. "No, I fight," he said. "We have to play five games more. This is football -- it's not boxing. You don't win on points. "We created four or five good chances to score goals," he said. "One we missed, the other times the keeper was too good. "First half we tried to play long ball and arrive faster in the box. But against a team like Montenegro -- it's the fourth time they have had a clean sheet. We needed to take our chances."
Capello also lavished praise on Montenegro, who had already confounded expectations by winning their opening three matches. "You have to respect them. Sometimes little countries have good players. I think at this moment they are psychologically very high," he said.
Montenegro coach Zlatko Kranjcar meanwhile said he still believes England are in the driving seat of Group G, even if Capello's men do face a dauting trip to Montenegro next year. "I don't consider it a miracle. This is a result that exceeds all our expectations," said Kranjcar.
"Three wins and a draw without conceding a goal is proof that we can achieve our aim of reaching the playoffs. "We are very close to our goal now. But there are a lot of games now. If the other teams don't fulfil their expectations we might even consider winning the group. But I think England is still the clear favorite for the group. They will find a way to win all their games before we play them next year."