Scotland manager Gordon Strachan says the feverish atmosphere in Friday’s World Cup qualifier against England at Wembley could make some players go weak at the knees.
The two bitter rivals are meeting in a competitive fixture for the first time since 1999 and Strachan hopes his team can use the intensity of the game to their advantage and reinvigorate their campaign with a victory.
“It’s important not to get caught up in the emotion of the match and to use your passion to run faster than you’ve ever run before, jump higher then you’ve ever jumped and concentrate harder than you ever have,” he told a news conference on Thursday.
“If you get too emotional you can lose focus so we’ve got to use that emotion and passion to play better than we ever have before.
“The atmosphere could focus us but it might spook a few people too. Our focus has been tremendous and the squad are oblivious to anything else but this game of football,” added Strachan.
Adding extra spice, the result could have significant implications for both bosses with Gareth Southgate odds-on to be named permanent England boss if he avoids defeat and Strachan’s role under scrutiny after a poor start to qualifying.
Another defeat for Scotland, who have four points from their first three Group F games and drew with Lithuania before losing 3-0 to Slovakia in their last two outings, could be devastating.
“We’ve not been too pleased with the last two performances,” Strachan said. “This game is a chance to catch up.
“It’s a chance to feel better about myself. Over the past few years I haven’t felt decent about myself.”