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Football: If Russia lose belief in me, I will quit, says coach Capello


Russia's national football team head coach Fabio Capello attends a press conference in Moscow, on July 30, 2014. Photo - AFP

Moscow: Fabio Capello would quit as head coach of Russia if his employers and the squad lost belief in him, he told reporters in Moscow on Wednesday.

Speaking at a news conference for the first time since Russia failed to progress from the group stages at the World Cup, the former England coach said he relies on being backed with enthusiasm and confidence.

"When we went to the World Cup, everyone was happy," said the 68-year-old Italian. "Football hinges on moments. The ball-is it in the net or not?

"I work with enthusiasm. If I see support from those around me ... If that belief stops, don't worry, I will quit."

Capello extended his contract, worth 9 million euros ($12m) a year according to media reports, with the Russian Football Union (RFU) in January this year. It runs until the conclusion of the 2018 World Cup, to be hosted by Russia.

RFU president Nikolay Tolstykh said: "The question of Capello quitting has not even been raised.

"He is under contract and will continue his work. Not one member of the RFU executive committee has said that they want Capello to leave."

Capello added: "If I am here, then I will carry on working. This is confirmation of that. The RFU believe in me, as does the Ministry for Sport.

"Our holidays are over. I came to Russia to work and, in a month's time, we will start our qualification campaign for Euro 2016."

Russia have been drawn in Group G, together with Sweden, Austria, Montenegro, Moldova and Liechtenstein in their bid to qualify for the finals in France.

"The main target is the 2018 World Cup in Russia," said Capello. "But before that, we have to get to the Euro 2016 finals.

"These are two related projects, but for me they are different. We are working towards getting good results. Looking towards our home World Cup, we must create a battle-hardened team."

Capello defended goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, whose mistakes in Brazil undermined their campaign. He said he will continue selecting the 28-year-old CSKA Moscow player.

He said: "I spoke with Akinfeev and I believe he is a great goalkeeper. He will be, he always will be.
This is a goalkeeper who I have worked with and will continue working with."

He went on to add that the team lacked pace and youth and recommended that Russia consider breaking with tradition and calling up naturalised players.

"This is happening all over the world and it is already a law," he said. "One of the Boateng brothers plays for Germany and the other for Ghana. However, I cannot decide this question. It does not depend on me."

He added: "We need to increase speed. I am always asking my players to do things quicker. It should become a habit ...

"We were one of the oldest teams at the World Cup. I cannot call up players who are not playing first-team football for their clubs. What would the fans say? The coach has gone mad?

"I already said that I want to get the young players together. This will happen when the winter break comes — this is my plan and I hope they support it."

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