Chris Coleman said a “devastated” Neil Taylor went in to try and apologise to Seamus Coleman after the horror challenge in Wales’ 0-0 draw away to Ireland that saw the Swansea full-back sent off and Coleman with a broken leg, but defended Gareth Bale’s foul on John O’Shea and that he wants to appeal the decision that leaves him out of their next match against Serbia.
In a testy post-game press conference where Coleman wanted to express his sorrow for Seamus Coleman but also wanted to defend his players, the Welsh manager said the Irish players “are not coming off with halos either”.
“I’ve only seen it in real time, as it happened,” Coleman said of the 68th-minute incident that left his Irish namesake with a broken leg. “Neil Taylor is devastated himself. That doesn’t make it any better for Seamus.
“He went in [to the Irish dressing room]. I’m not sure Seamus was there, but Neil went across to the home changing room. Not sure he got a hold of him, but he went across. It’s a typical British derby game. There’s needle. There’s no excuse for a bad challenge. If the ball is there to be won, you’ve got to go for it. Until I see that again, I can answer that a bit better.
“That [injuries] like that, are not what football is about. It’s a contact sport, but no-one should have a bad injury. If I see it again, and it is a bad one from Neil, a) it’s a surprise because he’s not that type of boy, and he’s had a bad injury.
“Sadly it looks like a bad one. Taylor is not that type of player. He’s had a serious injury himself. He’s a great boy, a cracking lad. I’ve not seen the challenge, but I’ve seen the outcome. It’s a bad one for Seamus and that’s a shame. He’s someone I respect, one of the best full-backs in the Premier League.”
Coleman was much more reluctant to discuss Bale’s challenge, insisting “he had to go for the ball, from where I was sitting".
“It was a typical derby. Your boys are not coming off there with halos on their head. It was a typical British game of football. There were one or two complaints from your boys.
“I’m not saying anybody should be sent off. I’m saying there was needle. We expected that. We knew what was going to happen. It’s a typical British derby game. The ref, it wasn’t easy. He’s got 50,000 screaming Irishmen on his neck.”
When it was put to Coleman that both Didi Hamann and referee Mark Halsey condemned Bale’s challenge, Coleman got a bit more abrasive.
“That’s their opinion. That’s my opinion. In real time, when I saw it I thought he had to go for it… I’m not going to sit here… I’m disappointed about the Seamus Coleman [injury] obviously. Bad challenges like that don’t belong.
“Bale wants to appeal the yellow card, so I have to see that again. If it’s a real bad one from Bale, I don’t sit on the fence. It’s a good old British game. The only down point was Seamus Coleman, which I am sorry about.
“You don’t want to see any broken legs, or go onto the pitch with that. Neither will any of my boys, you don’t want that. A bit of contact here and there, it is a physical game.
“Aaron Ramsey has got a bruise, and a cut here. It’s football at the end of the day. We complain about football coming a non-contact sport. The only thing you complain about, disappointed with is the incident with Seamus. We were in possession and left on our backsides once or twice.
“That’s football. You don’t want to see anything nasty or sinister. No place for that.”