Fabio Capello last night brushed aside England's early flirtation with disaster in Kazakhstan, insisting that the fleeting threat of a footballing disaster to go with England's defeat to Holland at Lord's added up to nothing after a night which placed the side on a firm course towards the World Cup Finals.
"I'm very happy with the result," Capello said. "We did not start very well, they were pressing and we knew that would happen. But even though Kazakhstan were pressing they didn't have a shot really, they scored one goal and it was offside. If that goal had been allowed we would have won 4-1."
The prime worry for Capello will be defensive. Glen Johnson had a difficult night and so too Robert Green who in the first 15 minutes had flapped at a cross which John Terry had to hoist clear and then missed a cross which was headed in by the marginally offside Sergey Ostapenko for a disallowed goal.
Capello said: "I told the players to prepare for that but when you score a goal that changes the game. In the first half-hour I was disappointed with the positioning of some of the players. I was trying to get a message across but it was impossible to do so [because of the crowd noise].
"It wasn't easy to play here because the pitch was not like English pitches. They [Kazakhstan] started very very strong, pressing a lot and for us it was not easy. But always when you play a team not at the same level, they start very strong and at home it's worst. But I'm happy with the performance of the players."
Gareth Barry set the course of the evening by heading home a Steven Gerrard cross five minutes before the break but Capello would not countenance thoughts of qualification for next summer's finals. "As yet we have to beat Andorra and then see what happens to Croatia and Ukraine," he said.
"We have to play game after game and next year if we're in South Africa we can speak about that."
Frank Lampard, left, whose penalty sealed the win, said: "It wasn't an easy place to come to. We were expected to beat them but with the conditions and their work-rate it took us 20 minutes to get going and once we did that we won quite comfortably. It was a professional performance. We can do better and there are things we can learn, like our passing in the early stages when we didn't get to grips with the pitch and the flight of the ball but we are on a confident run and we need to keep it going. We've taken a big step again.
"We need to beat Andorra on Wednesday and once we've done that we're nearly there. Our main objective is to qualify, the sooner we do that the better."Reuse content