Capello: Italians lack English grit

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England manager Fabio Capello believes Italian clubs must toughen up if they are to match the top sides in the Premier League.

Capello watched two of his former clubs Roma and Juventus bow out of the Champions League to Arsenal and Chelsea respectively, while Serie A leaders Inter Milan were no match for Manchester United over two legs at the last 16 stage.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson felt the week's results provided further evidence that the English league is the strongest in Europe, and Capello agreed there was "a big difference in terms of attitude."

He told RaiSport: "(English clubs) have a habit of being more physical and athletic. (Italian) teams are deficient in these areas compared to them.

"When AC Milan beat Manchester United (in 2007), it was mainly because they had players with both quality and strength. (It is) something we will need to improve upon if we want to return to higher levels in Europe."

Capello added that the style of officiating in Serie A was exacerbating the problem.

"In the Italian league there are plenty of breaks and very often the game is halted," he said.

"The officials, in this sense, should let the play develop more. Our style of playing football is locked and this is another limitation with respect to British football, which is quicker and more fluid."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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