Capello: Preparation key for Northern Ireland clash

The former England manager has brought his players to London in order to train ahead of Friday's "very important" Belfast clash

Fabio Capello has brought his Russia troops to London as they prepare for their crunch World Cup 2014 qualifying clash with Northern Ireland.

The Euro 2008 semi-finalists currently sit five points clear at the top of Group F and the former England boss feels preparations for their trip to Belfast on Friday are going well.

“In London, we have everything we need to prepare well for a very important game," he told the Russia Football Union's official website.

"The training base is nearby, and the airport is too. Belfast is almost a stone's throw away. It's very convenient. But most of all I am glad that all the players are healthy.

“[Monday] was the first day of our training here. Players who did not play or played little on Sunday had to do it. We planned everything so that our training was held at the maximum level.

“Each of the players focused on the upcoming match against Northern Ireland. We will do everything we can to achieve the desired result."

Capello also joked that in all his time training with the Three Lions it had never actually rained during training, unlike in Russia’s first session on Monday.

“I worked for four years with England and - you might not believe me - I never had to train in the rain. And then on my first day back here, it’s [raining] buckets!”

When the former Juventus boss was told that rain in Russia is a good sign and a symbol for the beginning of new things, he responded: “Is that true? Then it's great! I do hope that it will be so!”