It doesn’t matter that Terry Venables is probably right when he says that international friendlies are meaningless and do little to prepare teams for real games such as England’s Euro 2008 qualifier against Israel in March.
The press and the fans will (and should) crucify Venables and McClaren after this latest public faux-pas – when your team has just been comprehensively played off the park and shown no real bite or desire to play football, when your team has been as tactically bereft as a 9 year old kid playing football for the first time, when you’re managing a team as big as England (with all the expectations that come with the post) and you don’t win for several games in a row – the LAST fkn thing you should ever say is that the match you just played (and lost) was meaningless.
When fans are expecting you to provide answers for the team’s shortcomings, placing the blame on the FA (they need the revenue) and the games you just lost (they’re not the best preparation) is definitely not the right idea.
Looking at it from the players’ point of view:
Would you want your (assistant) manager to evade responsibility for losing a game and putting it off on ‘circumstances’? You play with what you have, wherever you are – England did that and lost, which is not good enough.
Once again, it’s not the defeat that rankles, it’s the manner of defeat, coupled with the attitude of the management, that really, really pisses me off.