Fabio Capello is convinced England will improve after watching his side labour to a friendly win over Mexico on Monday night.
Goals from Ledley King, Peter Crouch and Glen Johnson gave Capello’s side a flattering 3-1 victory in their penultimate game before the World Cup in South Africa.
But coach Capello is demanding more from his players.
“When we play counter-attacking football, we are really dangerous but I don’t just want to play on the counter. I want more,” he said.
The Italian insisted no-one had played themselves out of contention and added that there was still room for improvement going into their final warm-up against Japan in Graz, Austria, on Sunday.
“I’m happy with the result,” he stated. “I knew Mexico are good in possession, technically. They are faster than us and it was not easy to win back the ball.
“I learned a lot about some situations on the pitch, not only me but also the players. We have to press more to win back the ball quickly.”
England midfielder Steven Gerrard echoed Capello’s thoughts.
“We can play better than we did but there is still time to sharpen up,” said the Liverpool star.
“I think the key at half-time was the manager stressed we needed to get closer to them.
“We gave them too much respect in the first half and the manager wanted more aggression. They had too much possession in the first half. We stood off them and let them play.
“In the second half, we got in their faces and stopped them playing.”
The first half partnership of James Milner and Michael Carrick in central midfield failed to gel, prompting Capello to move Gerrard into a more central position after half-time.
“I changed it after half-time and put Steven in the middle, where he played very well,” added the Italian.
“He is a really good player and can play in midfield, as a number 10, in lots of different positions.”
Meanwhile, the England coach played down an injury concern over the talismanic Wayne Rooney.
The Manchester United striker had signalled that he wanted to come off a couple of minutes before the end but remained on the pitch because Capello had used all his substitutes.
“He said he had a small problem in his neck but it is not a problem,” revealed Capello. “He wanted to come off for the last two minutes but I had made all the substitutions so it was impossible to change.”