Allen backs Coleman to succeed

09 October 2012 06:17

Wales midfielder Joe Allen has given his backing to boss Chris Coleman, insisting it is the players who must feel the pressure to up 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 the match against Croatia in Osijek a week from Tuesday, 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 extended Wales' losing streak since Coleman was appointed as successor to the late Gary Speed to five games. But when asked if the right man was at the helm for Wales, Allen told Press Association Sport: "Yes, of course. Of course we are (all with him). He is a fantastic manager and preparations have been perfect for us."

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 added: "It has all been set out the perfect way for us to play football, and as players we have to shoulder the responsibility now when we get out on that pitch and make sure our performance levels are at the standards they should be."

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.

"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 - we are 11 captains out on the pitch, as we have to be," Davies said. "You see week in, week out how he (Williams) does it at Swansea. But everyone has to do their job on the field - it is not down to one person."

Source: PA

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