Rio Ferdinand has dismissed fears that Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari holds a curse over England.
Scolari’s Brazil beat England in the 2002 World Cup quarter-final and he repeated it with Portugal at Euro 2004.
He faces England again in Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final, but Ferdinand said to the Sun:
“I won’t be thinking about Scolari one bit, he’s not my manager. He has got nothing for me to think about. He’s nothing to do with England, so I will have no thoughts on him.”
Ferdinand played down the third battle between England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson and the Brazilian who was a World Cup winner with his home country in Japan four years ago.
Eriksson has yet to outwit the man who rejected the opportunity to succeed him as England coach.
“I think the main thing is that it is the players who make the difference at the end of the day. A chance goes to a front man and the manager is not going to be there to finish it off. If a ball needs clearing from the back it is the defenders and goalkeeper who have to deal with it, not the manager. The manager sets the stall out, but it is the players who have to go out and implement that. When a manager speaks to you about something or during the game at half-time you take that in, and it is then up to you to go out and make that happen in a game. I think the way you’re told, whether it is someone having a quiet word or someone who does it more vocally, doesn’t have a bearing on the way I play.”
Ferdinand’s England colleague Ashley Cole admitted he was not enjoying the World Cup because of the pressure and the weight of expectation.
But Manchester United defender Ferdinand insists he is revelling in the World Cup atmosphere.
He said: “I like the pressure. I love when there is pressure to do well and to achieve things, to go out and perform – but everyone’s different. Maybe Ashley’s seeing it from a different angle, but I like it when there’s pressure on. I just like the importance of the game, the buzz around the game and the fact that all eyes are on the showpiece. It’s almost like the chips are down, the feeling in England is that we are not doing well and we are not playing well. I kind of like it when it’s like that because it brings people together.”