Fabio Capello fears England's players can forget any hope of glory at Euro 2012 if they arrive in the same state as they did for the World Cup.
Capello learned on Friday that he will not pay for the Three Lions' failure in South Africa with his job, leaving him clear to take charge of a European Championship qualifying campaign that starts against Bulgaria at Wembley on September 3. Before that, England have a friendly with Hungary on August 11, when big changes are expected.
Capello now has the task of regenerating the side, but he is dubious about progress being made unless some way is found to lessen the effects of draining club campaigns. "If we arrive at the next tournament fresh, yes, we have a chance," he said. "If we arrive tired, no."
He added: "We have to try and understand what happened but in my experience, it is not only the body that is tired, but also the mind. The mind burns more energy than when you run.
"Possibly you need more time on holiday between the end of the Premier League and the finals. When Denmark won the European Championships in 1992, they were on the beach when they got told to play, although the pressure on Denmark is not the same as it is on England."
Capello's argument rather overlooks the obvious examples of Carlos Tevez and Dirk Kuyt, whose natural game is high energy and have somehow managed to come off Premier League seasons at Manchester City and Liverpool respectively and still replicate their form in South Africa.
Never a man who readily admits to making mistakes, Capello nevertheless made a few.
Even he now concedes the pre-tournament plans he so meticulously worked out - two altitude training camps in Austria and a couple of friendlies prior to departure for South Africa 10 days before the opening match against the United States - were excessive.
"Yes, I probably regret that now," he said. "You could change this in the future but it is too easy to say these things after the event."
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