England coach Fabio Capello insists his side will keep fighting after enduring a disappointing goalless draw against minnows Montenegro on Tuesday.
The Wembley stalemate leaves England three points behind Group G leaders Montenegro, with a game in hand, but Capello insists that the result will not hinder England’s qualifying prospects.
“I am a fighter. It is one game. We have to fight again. I think we are a good team. The goalkeeper was the best player for Montenegro. This is football,” said Capello.
“You have to respect little countries. They have good players. At this moment they are psychologically at a high moment having won three games.
“They were compact. The quality was good. Against Algeria (at the World Cup) we didn’t create a lot of chances. Tonight we did create chances.”
Capello came to the defence of misfiring striker Wayne Rooney, who missed two chances and again below par.
“Rooney played a normal game,” he said. “He had two chances and twice the goalkeeper was very good, the second save was a fantastic save.
“We created four clear chances to score goals.”
The manager, however, did admit that England were lucky when Milan Jovanovic hit the woodwork with a shot which had beaten goalkeeper Joe Hart.
“We were lucky because they had one shot at goal and it hit the bar,” said Capello. “In other games they have had two shots and always scored.
“This (Montenegro) team is a good team at the moment. They are a compact team, they work a lot. They are technically good.
“It is the fourth time they have had a clean sheet. It is not easy, you have to score quickly against them to make it easier.”
Capello concedes his side’s next qualifier against Wales in March will be key in a group where only the winner qualifies automatically, adding: “The next game is really important against Wales. But every game in this group will be tough.”
When asked if the struggle against Montenegro would make him question his decision to continue after the World Cup, he replied: “Absolutely no.
“This is my job. It is one game. When we finish the qualification it will have told you something about that.”