So Fabio Capello says getting to the World Cup Final is an “aspiration” for him.
“Playing in the final would be success,” said Capello over the weekend. “For now, playing in it will do, rather than winning it. But if people are asking me what my aspiration is, then it is to reach the final.”
There are any number of problems with this statement. Let’s start with the obvious. His job is to win football matches and tournaments. That’s what the FA pay him for. Unless I'm misreading the situation, this means winning games up to and including the World Cup Final.
Of course reaching the final would be a significant accomplishment or even an amazing achievement. What it would not be is success. Success goes to the winners.
As for “playing in it will do” as opposed to “winning it”, pardon me if I don’t wonder what is going on in the man’s head. Merely days after securing qualification he appears content with not actually winning. Playing is good enough, apparently.
No it isn’t. Here’s why.
In 1984 Elton John’s Watford reached the FA Cup Final. They were delighted to have done so and told everybody they would enjoy the day.
The team they would play were mystified by this attitude. Everton players subsequently went on the record to make clear their attitude to the final – they wanted to win.
For a serial winner of La Liga and Serie A, the latter as player and manager, to come out with such statements is worrying.
Come on, Capello. Clear this up. Either you want to win next summer or you don’t.