ROY HODGSON has taken a unique approach to managing expectation surrounding his England Euro 2012 hopefuls – he has chosen to embrace it.
Hodgson has not come out with the kind of grandiose "we can win it" statements delivered by predecessors, and even Wayne Rooney when he spoke to the media on Sunday.
Instead, the 64-year-old has opted to ride the growing wave of euphoria, believing it reinforced the spirit that has built up within his squad.
It is a novel position. But like so much of what Hodgson has done over the past seven weeks since his appointment as Fabio Capello's replacement, it seems to be working.
"I don't mind the expectation getting greater," he said. "I am really pleased about it. We have been very buoyed by the news from home and the people we meet here. Everyone seems to be becoming an England fan again.
"That is so important for us. If you are a football player or coach, you want people to appreciate you and get behind you, and you want people to give you the feeling if I do have a bad game, it is not going to be a catastrophe.
"There is more of that feeling and the players are responding. Long may that continue."
By welcoming the expectation, Hodgson is ensuring it does not engulf his players.
The task is easier to achieve in Krakow, of course.
One of the reasons Poland's second city was chosen as England's base was because no matches are being played there.
An evening stroll may be beyond Rooney. However, should they so wish, the vast majority of England's players could go for a wander around Krakow's magnificent market square without attracting a second glance, especially now Poland are out of the competition.
Hodgson played no part in organising this aspect of the trip. Contrary to initial suggestions, he agrees with it though.
"I would choose to do the same thing as far as our base camp is concerned," he said.
"The weather in Ukraine is a lot hotter than in Poland. In choosing Krakow, we had the advantage that we were alone there, in a city, and could do things on a daily basis."
That means a couple of training sessions prior to departure for Kiev, where they will face Italy in the quarter-finals on Sunday.
The Italians – with controversial Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli in tow – also set up camp in Krakow.
With a star-studded line-up and their status as four-times World Cup winners, European Championship victors in 1968 and eight additional semi-final appearances besides, it is easy to see why Hodgson is reluctant to claim England should be jubilant about the task that lies ahead, even if they have avoided tournament favourites Spain.
"It has to be an advantage not to face Spain," he said.
"But I have to be very careful what I say for fear of suggesting Italy are not a very good team and worthy opponents."