Coleman still ‘right man for job’ after five defeats
Wales midfielder Joe Allen has given his backing to manager Chris Coleman, insisting it is the players who must feel the pressure to improve their game going into the World Cup qualifying double-header against Scotland and Croatia.
Ahead of Friday’s clash with the Scots at Cardiff City Stadium and against Croatia in Osijek next midweek, the Dragons are bottom of Group A having lost their opening two fixtures – a 2-0 home reverse to Belgium and then a humiliating 6-1 drubbing in Serbia.
Those results last month extended Wales’ losing streak since Coleman was appointed successor to the late Gary Speed to five games.
After the Serbia mauling, Coleman insisted he was not worried about any “pressure or negativity” aimed towards him, and he made it clear when announcing his squad last week that he was glad the next match – and the opportunity for Wales to bounce back – was coming around so quickly.
That is a feeling shared by Allen, who says the responsibilty is on him and the rest of the players to improve their performance on the pitch – and that they are all fully behind the manager.
Asked if he felt the right man was at the helm for Wales, Allen said: “Yes, of course. Of course we are [all with him]. He is a fantastic manager and preparations have been perfect for us.”
Although they are yet to register a point after two matches, Wales are only four points behind Croatia, Belgium and leaders Serbia in Group A, while Scotland have two points and Macedonia one.
Allen feels it is vital the Dragons show a reaction after what happened in Serbia and is confident they can claim a victory on Friday to kick-start their campaign.
“After a disappointing defeat, you always want to bounce back as quickly as possible, so luckily this game has come around quite quickly,” the Liverpool player said.
“But we have also had time to reflect. We have to make sure we put things right in the next game.
In the build-up to this qualifying double-header, Coleman has opted to change his captain, passing the armband from Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey to Swansea skipper Ashley Williams.
Ben Davies, Williams’ defensive colleague for club and country, is sure Williams will do a good job, but has emphasised that Wales always strive to be a team of leaders.
“We are a strong, close-knit squad and whoever has the captaincy will put us in good stead – [but] we are 11 captains out on the pitch… it is not down to one person ,” Davies said.
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