Steve McClaren says England will have no excuses if they fail to reach the Euro 2008 finals – after being thrown an unlikely lifeline by Israel’s 2-1 win over Russia.
England now face Croatia on Wednesday requiring just a draw to secure qualification.
“Qualification is key. We’re back in control and in the driving seat and it’s up to us,” said the England coach.
“There are no excuses. We’ve got to make sure we qualify. Croatia have nothing to play for but are a very good side and capable of winning this game.”
McClaren says England will go looking for the victory they need to top the group rather than play safe and seek the draw which would see them qualify for Euro 2008.
“All we need to do is draw, but we’ve got to be positive,” said McClaren.
“We’ve got to attack, be up-tempo and really go to win the game. We’ve got to make sure that we’re not negative.
“We have got to make sure that complacency does not set in and make sure we are focused.”
McClaren believes the supporters at Wembley on Wednesday need to be as positive as the players.
“Expectations I know are great, but you can’t do it without the fans,” he said. “It’s about sticking together, being positive and getting behind the team.
“It can be a fantastic atmosphere at Wembley and it can be intimidating for the opposition, while boosting our own players and we need that.
“We have to perform, and it would be a great boost to get the media, fans and people on the street behind us.”
McClaren admitted he could hardly bare to watch Israel’s game against Russia. The manager saw neither Russia’s potential winner, when Dmitri Sychev hit a post with seconds remaining, nor, moments later, the decider from Israel.
“I had actually slipped to the bathroom,” he confessed. “I couldn’t watch the last 10 minutes. My boys had a big cheer [when Israel scored] and I thought it was actually the end of the game. I just cannot believe the whole nation sat through 95 minutes. I don’t know how they could. I have never been a good watcher of matches.”