Chris Coleman's half-time blast lifted Wales, reveals Ashley Williams

04 September 2017 11:54

Ashley Williams has revealed how Chris Coleman turned angry to get Wales' World Cup ambitions back on track.

Wales play in Moldova on Tuesday night seeking to close the gap on Group D's top two, Serbia and the Republic of Ireland, who meet in Dublin at the same time.

But Wales' World Cup hopes were in danger of being derailed for good against Austria on Saturday.

That was until manager Coleman intervened with a dressing room blast and a much-improved second-half show saw teenager Ben Woodburn come up with a winner on his Wales debut.

"We came in at half-time and the gaffer got a little bit old school with us, how he used to be," skipper Williams said.

"We haven't seen it for a while, but he let us have it a little bit which I thought was perfect.

"We needed that, and then the second half was much better. That's what we've come to expect at a night game in Cardiff."

Despite his furious outburst, Coleman kept a cool head when it came to tactical planning.

The usual play book of three centre-backs and two wing-backs was ripped up in favour of a flat back four.

Andy King was sent on to bolster midfield alongside David Edwards and allow Aaron Ramsey to operate in a more advanced position.

With Wales then having seized control, Coleman sent on Woodburn to dramatic effect - the Liverpool youngster scoring just 261 seconds after his arrival.

"Tactically, he showed that he's brave to change something he wanted to do at the start," Williams said.

"He got it spot on at half-time and I think the result was down to him with his team talk.

"You could see the reaction in the second half. He put Ben on and he was superb."

Wales' win saw them close the gap on the Republic to two points in second, while they are four adrift of Serbia with three games to play.

Automatic qualification for next summer's finals in Russia through top spot, or a possible play-off place by finishing second, remains within the grasp of the Euro 2016 semi-finalists.

Their next test is against the group's bottom team Moldova, who have lost five of their seven qualifiers and have not won a competitive fixture for nearly four years.

"We should have enough experience in that dressing room to win," Williams said.

"We've been together long enough and we've played enough of these types of games to know how difficult it is.

"We've put ourselves in a position where we can still qualify and after the last campaign it was like we expected more.

"But if you take the last campaign out of it, we would have taken this."

Source: PA