England midfielder Gareth Barry has told FIFA that the weight of expectation from his country's fans and media was certainly not to blame for the 0-0 draw with Algeria. Barry, who made his FIFA World Cup™ debut in Cape Town, was left to reflect on a below-par performance and an embarrassing result, rather than basking on his personal achievement.
Indeed, the only positive that the Manchester City man could take from the game at the final whistle was that the next game against Slovenia in Port Elizabeth is just four days away. "We were disappointed really," he said. "We wanted to take three points from the game. Overall, we didn't attack with enough purpose. Against the USA we created five or six really good chances and a few half-chances, but not against Algeria.
"Fair play to them, they played a really good game and deserved a point," added Barry. "But it's still in our own hands so that's the positive thing. If we beat Slovenia, we qualify and that's our target. We know we're good enough to beat them, but it's a tough task and we need to go out there and perform.
"We know we need to play better. The chance is there on Wednesday which is a good thing because it's just around the corner. We know we need to improve and we're capable of doing that. It's just like the second round already because it's effectively a knockout game, but we need to win the game in 90 minutes. It's going to be a tough task but we're good enough to do it."
Every World Cup, every team here is under pressure because the whole nation is depending on them to do well.
People have pointed to the level of expectancy the England team must deal with from the press and public alike, but the 29-year-old insists that is not the root cause of the problem. Wayne Rooney publically criticised the travelling England fans for booing the team in the closing stages and at the final whistle, but Barry was more understanding – and is hoping that England can redeem themselves with a win over Slovenia and a place in the Round of 16.
"I don't think it is right for us to use the excuse of the weight of expectation," he said. "Every World Cup, every team here is under pressure because the whole nation is depending on them to do well. So we're not using that as an excuse. I can understand why the fans booed. They've travelled a long way and spent a lot of money to stay here so they expect a better performance. So hopefully we can give them a positive result on Wednesday. Football is about the whole team and today the whole team didn't perform at a level to win the game. The draw was deserved."