IT’S important to give a team talk to the England fans at Wembley on Wednesday night.
You are not going to this semi-final — and, hypothetically, to the final — to enjoy yourselves.
You have to PLAY the game. You have to fight with your team.
Make a noise where the players get double-energy and double-confidence, so they feel everybody is with them.
It’s not about the guys going to the pub singing, “It’s coming home… ”
That’s good for the pub owner because he sells lots of beer but it doesn’t help the players.
Those in the stadium can make a difference.
If there’s a noise of frustration, then we feel it as players and managers. Even if we are really focused, believe me, we still feel it.
We used to say at Real Madrid that the worst thing to feel was the silence of frustration.
When that giant stadium is quiet, the silence of the Bernabeu is deafening. In every stadium, there are different noises — moments when you sense frustration and feel pressure.
England’s players are used to that frustration. But against Denmark the supporters have to fight with the team, even if they aren’t playing well.
Even if the team is losing, it has to be a noise which says, “We are fighting together.”
If England win, then enjoy it, show the happiness, enjoy every moment the country has waited 55 years for.
England need an Anfield atmosphere. One of the first times I went there with Chelsea, we beat Liverpool 4-1 but they supported their guys until the last second and I couldn’t believe it because that is not in our nature in Portugal.
Or England need the atmosphere you get at Old Trafford in the last 15 minutes of a tight match when, even if Manchester United aren’t playing well, the supporters always believe.
Everyone should bring the best characteristics of their own club’s support and throw it behind the England team.
Because Denmark are dangerous and if England are not England — compact, patient, pragmatic — then they can suffer.
People talk about psychological barriers because England have lost four semi-finals since 1966.
But as a manager you make players feel like it’s almost a destiny — the team is improving and to arrive here is the consequence of our work.
It was not as if people — the media, the public — put this England team on the moon. This team had to persuade the England fan base to believe in them.
Gareth Southgate and his people were always focused on achieving something, rather than being nice.
I felt that against Scotland. They knew that not being offensive and smashing them would be a source of criticism and negativity but they knew the draw qualified England.
So what was more important? To be in good grace with the country or to be pragmatic and get our 0-0? They were a proper team since the beginning.
Denmark have a solid base — Jannik Vestergaard, Andreas Christensen, who has an incredible personality, and Simon Kjaer, who is a great leader. Behind them, goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, another leader.
In front of them, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who I worked with at Tottenham, and who influences everyone around him and really complements Thomas Delaney, a high-level Bundesliga player.
This nucleus is solid mentally, emotionally and tactically.
After that, they have talent. This 23-year-old kid Kasper Dolberg was amazing at Ajax.
He didn’t have a phenomenal season with Nice but now he is playing so well, dropping, moving, coming to the sides, arriving in the box very confident and scoring goals.
Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest initially affected the Danes so badly but with Chris recovering — and the players feeling everything was going to be fine with their friend — plus the country around them, the sympathy of the world and what they mean as a team, they come to Wembley knowing they have no pressure and large doses of confidence.
They won at Wembley last year. That’s why I say “be careful”.
England must play with the momentum that brought them here — Denmark are a good team but England are better.
Play with the patience and control, as they did against Germany — although I don’t feel a need for a back five because England will be trying to disorganise a very organised team.
I’d keep at least ten of the 11 who started against Ukraine — Kyle Walker has been amazing from day one while Luke Shaw is getting better and better.
Then John Stones, Harry Maguire, Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice. Gareth loves Mason Mount — I do too.
Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane, then one other. I’d have Jack Grealish but I think it may be Bukayo Saka.
England have seven straight clean sheets but they will probably concede in the semi-final or final.
At that moment, I don’t think they will go crazy and lose their compactness. I see a team of well-balanced people.
KANE DO ATTITUDE
I DON’T like to disturb players at tournaments — but I did exchange a couple of messages with Harry Kane.
He was never worried when he was not scoring and I don’t think Kane gives a damn about winning the Golden Boot.
He just wants to win the title and I think they all have that mentality in the England camp.
JORDAN PICKFORD needs to calm down a little bit.
Against Ukraine he made a couple of mistakes based on a lack of focus and concentration.
He needs to get back to where he was — calm, focused, do not try to gamble or to be what he isn’t with his left foot.
He is good at going long with passes but, when he tries to be too clever, the mistake is there.
TYRONE MINGS was very good for England but Harry Maguire has something more.
He scores more goals from set-pieces and he clearly has a voice.
Maguire is the captain of Manchester United. He uses that status, that power, even in communicating with referees.
He is quite arrogant with referees.
And you need that arrogance, in a polite way.
He doesn’t have the armband with England but he acts as a captain, as a leader.
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