Frank Lampard has attempted to repair any damage inflicted by the perceived aborted coup within the England camp by saying the players have complete faith in Fabio Capello before Wednesday's decisive final group game against Slovenia.
The Chelsea midfielder skilfully negotiated a passage through the minefield laid by his club-mate John Terry 24 hours earlier when the defender had suggested a scheduled team meeting on Sunday night was to become an opportunity for disgruntled players to air their grievances. Lampard has defended Terry's heartfelt approach, which has been effective at club level, but said the squad remain utterly supportive of Capello.
"Fabio is a strong manager and we all respect him very much," Lampard said. "I've been lucky enough to work with some fantastic managers and Fabio Capello is right up there. That's from working personally with him and looking at his record. I respect that completely and I think a lot of people do."
"He had authority the moment he walked into the job two years ago and continues to have that. The players have complete respect for him. We have faith in him. We have faith, too, that as a group we'll go and win the game against Slovenia," he added.
"He has given us our confidence back. I know we didn't play well the other night [against Algeria] but, if you look at the two-year period previously, you can see, from being very low, he's given us confidence, discipline and made us into a compact team who can also hurt teams with the quality we have. The last game wasn't good, so everyone's on a bit of a downer and you sometimes forget the good stuff but some of our performances under him have been top-drawer," stated Lampard.
Lampard offered Terry some sympathy after the defender saw his call for a clear-the-air meeting backfire so spectacularly that the defender was warned by a member of the coaching staff ahead of the get-together that it would be unwise to speak out with his club-mate having apparently misread the level of support he commands within the squad.
"We had a meeting like that with Chelsea this season with 12 games to go, when no one could possibly imagine us winning the Double," Lampard added. "We'd just lost to Internazionale and drawn at Blackburn and we had a meeting among ourselves at what was a bit of a low point and it worked. It was the right thing for us to do. We kicked on and won the Double."
"Look back and see what John says out loud or behind closed doors, on the pitch or with the manager, he has done that before and there has been a reaction. It has worked in a positive way. John normally hits the nail on the head. So I understand what John was saying because he's passionate as a player and a person for Chelsea, and he's like that for England. John said all that with good, honest intentions and was straight talking. He just spoke from the heart. I don't know if he took it too far."
"But we've got 23 players here and everyone deals with things differently. Some people won't say too much. Others want to hit things head on. Everyone appreciates that but we'll try and hit things head-on on the training ground by looking to improve things as a group. Everyone is working in the same direction. We still respect what the manager is doing, we follow his way and we try to be successful."