England look for solid Bulgaria win

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Captain Steven Gerrard has called on England to make a statement of intent in their opening Euro 2012 qualifier against Bulgaria on Friday.

England have still to shake off the lingering disappointment of their abject World Cup display but will improve their hopes of redemption with a good display in front of an expectant home crowd at Wembley.

Gerrard's two goals were the high point of last month's unconvincing friendly victory against Hungary in what was England's first outing since the World Cup, and the Liverpool midfielder concedes the pressure is on the players and manager Fabio Capello to prove that a corner has been turned.

"The players and the manager realise that we are under pressure at the moment, which is normal after underperforming at the World Cup," said Gerrard.

"It'll really help if we put in a good performance tomorrow and get the maximum points. Then we can obviously take the confidence from that into the Switzerland game on Tuesday.

"It's very important that we make a statement and show that we want to win the group and qualify comfortably."

He added: "We qualified for the World Cup playing good, attacking football. If we can perform at that level I'm sure we'll get out of this group in similar fashion.

"The difficult thing is there's slightly more pressure on us this time around and we have to cope with that.

"We've certainly got the exciting players in the squad to get off to a good start."

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