Bulgaria coach Stanimir Stoilov believes England will always struggle to shine in major tournaments because of the gruelling nature of the English domestic season.
Stoilov was unsurprised that Fabio Capello’s side failed to make an impact in the World Cup as they crashed out at the last 16 hurdle.
Capello opted to take his players away for a two-week training camp in Austria after his squad had only a few days off at the end of the domestic campaign. But Stoilov, whose side take on England in a Euro 2012 qualifier at Wembley tonight, believes rest is a crucial element.
He said: “I was not very surprised by England’s performance at the World Cup because the season here is very hard to deal with for the players.
“That is the main reason that England did not do well at the World Cup and also the European Championships before that (when the team did not even qualify for the finals in Austria and Switzerland).
“The most important thing before a tournament like that is how to rest the players and prepare them for the coming games and not the training sessions.
“I would have allowed my players to have a rest. That is only my opinion. It is not my job to give advice to the FA.”
Stoilov wants Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai to protect his players should England striker Wayne Rooney lose his cool.
Stoilov insists his players will not try to wind up Rooney as he looks to make amends for a disappointing World Cup in which he failed to score in four matches.
But he hopes Kassai will ensure Rooney is made to toe the line should nerves get the better of him in his desire to win over the England fans.
Stoilov said: “Rooney has great skills. I have to teach my players how to stop him on the pitch, not how to provoke him.
“That is not the style of the Bulgarian national team who have come over here to play fairly.
“But if Rooney is nervous because of his lack of goals, he should be punished if he is too aggressive.”
Capello will be under pressure to produce a positive performance and result after the woeful showing in South Africa.
But Stoilov believes they should have few problems in dealing with the situation in front of 70,000-plus fans.
He said: “It is a problem the players of England should deal with and the pressure will not only be for Capello but also the players.
“But I don’t really believe it is a serious problem because most of them in England are used to playing under pressure.”
As regards his own team’s tactics, Stoilov said: “We are not coming to Wembley just to defend.
“In a game like this, a win for us would be the perfect result but we hope not to lose.
“We have to fight to achieve that goal but we will try to play football and, in a game like this, you never know.”