England boss Fabio Capello believes the "depression" which surrounded the national side has lifted during his year in charge.
Capello, who celebrated the first anniversary of his appointment this week, took over a side at a low ebb following their failure to qualify for Euro 2008, but spirits have since been lifted with England making a fine start to their World Cup qualifying campaign.
Capello, speaking on the Laureus website, said: "When I started to be England manager I knew enough about the England players but not what was around the national team - a lot of depression of the people, a lot of depression of the journalists."
He added: "Here, every day the journalists write a lot about football, there is big, big pressure.
"But when I started I was lucky, we played four friendly games against Switzerland, France, Trinidad and Tobago and America and this was important because I understood the players and they understood me.
"The most important thing was the spirit of the team, we had to recover the spirit and build a group. It is very important to play without fear, without nervousness."
After some impressive performances this season, most notably a 4-1 win in Croatia in September, England top their World Cup qualifying group and are favourites to claim a place at South Africa 2010.
Their new-found confidence was further illustrated last month when they beat Germany 2-1 in a friendly in Berlin.
Capello added: "The fans can see a different spirit of the players, the young players in qualification for the World Cup played with England spirit and this is very important.
"When we played the last game in Germany we played very well. It was a very young team, new players and we played with good spirit. It is the right thing to go forward."
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