Jermain Defoe says England 'are still a great team'
Jermain Defoe admitted the England players were 'devastated' after the draw against Algeria but says they can bounce back.sports Updated: Jun 19, 2010 13:38 IST
Jermain Defoe admitted the England players were 'devastated' after the draw against Algeria but says they can bounce back.
England's players left this arena "devastated" last night and delivering pleas to their disgruntled supporters to retain faith that the team can yet progress into the knockout phase of the World Cup.
The stagnant draw with Algeria has left Fabio Capello's side requiring victory against the group leaders, Slovenia, on Wednesday to guarantee reaching the last 16. So abject was this display that the manager even had to dead-bat a question about his own future after the match "It's too early to talk about that," he replied with his players left to
appeal for calm.
"The lads are devastated that we didn't win," said Jermain Defoe, who replaced Emile Heskey late on. "We want to do it for everyone back home, our families, the manager, everyone. But it's important for the fans to keep behind us because we will need that support on Wednesday.
You can understand the fans' reaction at the end because they've travelled thousands of miles to support us. We are just as frustrated but we have players who have been there and done it and played in major tournaments before. We are a great side and it's important to keep going because it will be a different game against Slovenia.
"It's not nice to be booed because you try your best and it was difficult out there but the only way we are going to win is with the fans behind us. People will look at this fixture and say we should have won comfortably but that's never the case. The manager's just as frustrated because he's a winner but, after the game, he got our heads up and said: 'Keep it going.' He keeps telling us we're a great team and that we will win the next game. He's confident, everyone's confident. We will get through."
So desperate was this performance at times that the former England manager Graham Taylor, now working as a pundit on radio, suggested it could have been born only of "something not being right behind the scenes" within the national set-up. "I don't believe the proper preparatory work is being done," he said. "Look at the body language: something is wrong."
Capello rejected that much, with his players insistent they and the talismanic but off-colour Wayne Rooney can still regain their poise.
"We can recover, without a doubt," said David James. "We dominated possession out there but Algeria set themselves out not to lose rather than trying to win the game. But it's a knock-out now."
"The fans have come a long way and deserved a better performance," said the midfielder Gareth Barry. "They want to see us score and win games. We were below par, a bit flat, and that's the result you get boos. We didn't attack with enough purpose or belief. Now we need to score and win the Slovenia game and we will be working on that.
But we must keep the word 'pressure' away from us.
"We're going into a knock-out stage on Wednesday. We need to win and we're capable of that. It's still in our own hands: beat Slovenia and we're through.
"We have to be confident of qualifying. We need to stick together in the next few days, but we all know we're good enough to go through, even if it's not that simple. We need to put things right. The manager will try to keep the players calm, as he needs to do in this situation, and we'll start working towards Wednesday. As for Wayne, we know we need him because he can produce something magical at any moment. I'm sure Wayne as much as anyone else will want to put it right and it's a great chance for us to do that."