England boss Roy Hodgson refuses to play “mind games” before Montenegro clash
England manager Roy Hodgson believes in taking the high road. The Three Lions boss refused to fall down to level of Montenegro manager Branko Brnovic, who critically lambasted against England in his pre-match news conference on Monday.
Roy Hodgson dismissed Branko Brnovic claims about England being a complacent and a long-ball team, suggesting that his comments were merely pre-match “mind games”; which is something his side would abstain from doing.
The former Switzerland manager refused to engage in a verbal battle with Branko Brnovic as England prepare for the Tuesday encounter against Montenegro. Meanwhile, Branko Brnovic opted for a more aggressive approach in his pre-match news conference. Branko Brnovic criticized the Three Lions over their weak defense and arrogant Football Association.
Roy Hodgson believes Branko Brnovic is trying to rile up England before the Tuesday battle against Montenegro.
“People are entitled to their opinions. I would say it is mind games,” Roy Hodgson said. “There is not too much doubt about that. I don't have an opinion. I'm surprised he thinks a defeat won't hurt Montenegro. Most coaches feel a defeat at all levels of football. I'm also quite confident people in England who know how we play.
“I would suggest they know the team even better than their coach and will make their own decision on those statements. But, for me, it is water off a duck's back. Matches are not won or lost by coaches either making provocative statements or telling you what a wonderful team you are to lure you into a false sense of security.
“We've prepared for the game, we've studied Montenegro, we know a lot about their team, know their strengths and weaknesses. Anything said before the game is of no interest to us and makes no difference to the outcome of the game.”
Meanwhile, Montenegro skipper Mirko Vucinic fueled the flames by suggesting England star Wayne Rooney will find it hard to control his emotions. The Juventus star believes Wayne Rooney will have to face his demons for kicking Montenegro forward Miodrag Dzudovic in his last visit to the Podgorica City Stadium. Roy Hodgson admits the game will test Wayne Rooney’s temperament, but the Manchester United star should come out of the battle clean.
“I won't talk to Wayne personally,” Roy Hodgson said. “We talk about that (discipline) in general terms all the time. We take great interest in our disciplinary record because of the two yellow cards meaning a ban in this group. But Rooney's disciplinary record since the Montenegro game has been exemplary, he hasn't been booked for England, and I won't be talking to him in particular.
“I do trust the players and won't be making a particular point of it (discipline) because I know the players are aware of it.”