Michael Owen believes that Sven's half-time team-talk was the pivotal moment...
Michael Owen believes that Sven's half-time team-talk was the pivotal moment in last night's victory. The England skipper was himself in sensational form, scoring both goals to seal England's win in the vital Euro Qualifier...
"That was one of the best performances I've played in during the second half," Michael said. "The first half wasn't great although I don't think we played badly.
"The manager sat us down after the first half when we had been chasing the game. The crowd got a bit anxious and so did the players.
"After the halftime team talk we came out and then it was a totally different England. He told us not to chase the game and that if we defended solidly we had the personnel to create the chances.
"We were a bit naïve because we had so many young players. We defended so much more solidly in the second half and they didn't counter attack us.
"I'm delighted that we got the three points because after the first half it didn't look like we would do that.
"I was never going to hide after I'd missed that chance in the first minute. I've never done that in my life before and that's probably why I scored two.
"All the press will probably tell me I should have scored three, four, five or six, which is true, but I'm grateful for the two.
"I headed one against the crossbar and the keeper (Miroslav Konig) played really well and made some great saves. Slovakia have him to thank for us not winning by more goals."
Owen also praised club mate Steven Gerrard.
"Steven can be vital to any team he plays in when he plays like that. When he is on top of his form there's not many better," said the England captain.
"He was dominant knocking the ball around and it was only a matter of time before one of his crosses found someone's head."
Asked about the penalty award, he added: "There was definite contact on my back and that made me fall forward.
"It was nerve-wracking taking the penalty, knowing all the people in the stadium are willing you on and then afterwards you think of the millions watching on TV.
"It was a pressure penalty. I've missed them before but thankfully this time I scored one."
It was a fantastic evening for Michael. In the changing room after the game, Sven presented him with a photographic collage to commemorate his 50 international caps. All the players clapped the skipper for his contribution over the last six years and for his performance on the night.
The skipper revealed that he prefers to be a captain that leads by example.
"Everyone knows I don't scream the dressing room down," he said. "David Beckham is exactly the same, he tends to lead on the pitch. You don't get screamers anymore, it's about keeping calm and that's what I try to do.
"It's been a long, hard season and I'm really looking forward to having four weeks off, but no sooner do you put your feet up than it's back to pre-season training. I'm looking forward to the rest and the players all deserve a break."
He and they deserve it.
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