Capello eyes maximum points

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The Independent Online

England boss Fabio Capello is determined to see his team go into the winter break in the World Cup qualifying campaign with a maximum haul of 12 points.

Capello's side opened their qualifying programme with victories over Andorra and Croatia last month and followed up by beating Kazakhstan on Saturday.

England now travel to Minsk to face Belarus tomorrow in their last qualifying match for six months.

Capello said at a press conference televised on Sky Sports: "We played one strong game against Croatia away - it is very important for the mind, for the confidence. Tomorrow is another important game away.

"I am always thinking about the victory, I never say to the players they have to play for the draw. They have to go to the pitch and win. This is very important.

"I spoke to the players and said this is very important - we have to wait six months for the next game. We are in a good moment and have to follow with positive results.

"Four games, 12 points - this is very important for me."

Capello, however, is taking nothing for granted against a Belarus side he rates highly.

The Italian added: "I saw three games of Belarus and they are a very good team. Tomorrow will be no easy game.

"They drew with Argentina and Germany and this will be a very tough game."

Capello is also backing midfielder Steven Gerrard to shine despite comments from the Liverpool midfielder admitting he has not played at his best for his country.

The debate over whether Gerrard can form an effective partnership with Chelsea's Frank Lampard also continues to rumble.

Capello added: "It is always the same. If I put Gerrard in - why not Lampard; if Lampard - why not Gerrard. But I think they can play together.

"I think Gerrard has played some games very well."

Rio Ferdinand is set to captain Capello's side and he echoed his coach's caution ahead of what he sees as a big challenge for an England team shorn of John Terry and Ashley Cole.

"The manager's made clear he sees this as a very tough game," Ferdinand told a press conference on Sky Sports News.

"The English public maybe don't see them as a threat but their results don't lie and we have to make sure we apply ourselves the right way to come away with another win - which would be a very good result for us."

He added: "The difficulty is people expect us to win by seven or eight, but we're not approaching it with that mentality."

Should England come away from Minsk with three points, Ferdinand believes it will be another clear sign, following last month's win in Croatia, that the Three Lions are on the up under Capello.

"Four out of four (wins) puts us in a good position and with no game for quite a while it would be a good way to start," the defender said.

"Four out of four would be a real step in the right direction."

Ferdinand admitted Capello has proved a strong leader and all the players are determined to impress him.

He added on Sky Sports: "He is the manager, there is no discussion about it. He is the boss and his decisions are final.

"As players you like that, you want to be under a manager who is very strong and demands and lot of the players.

"You want to go out there and impress that man. It is the same at the clubs - Alex Ferguson is the same. He is the leader of the ship."

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