Coleman relief at Wales win

PA Sport
Chris Coleman breathed a sigh of relief after Wales came back to beat Scotland
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Chris Coleman breathed a sigh of relief after Wales came back to beat Scotland

Wales boss Chris Coleman admitted his main feeling was relief after his team's 2-1 victory over Scotland in Friday night's World Cup qualifier at Cardiff City Stadium.

The pressure had been on the hosts going into the contest, with them bottom of Group A after being beaten 2-0 by Belgium and 6-1 by Serbia in their opening two fixtures of the campaign. That had extended Wales' losing streak since Coleman had been appointed as manager to five games, including the memorial match for his predecessor, the late Gary Speed, which was overseen by coach Osian Roberts.

With that sequence having finally been brought to an end, Coleman, whose side now face Croatia in Osijek on Tuesday, said: "Every time I win as a manager, I don't celebrate - I'm relieved. That is how we all think, any manager I talk to."

He added: "It's great that that is my first victory after I lost two friendlies and two qualifiers, and in the last one, took a hiding. It is my first time tasting success as an international manager.

"But I am the same manager now as I was before - I won't change, and I'll be the same again over the next few days. We have to go to Croatia and that is the next task. I won't be thinking about the Scotland game or patting myself on the back - I'll be thinking 'right, what do we have to do on Tuesday - can we get a result in Croatia against a good team?'

"So the word is relief, because every game that goes past where you don't win, for international managers it is not like you have games every week, so you have to make the most of it. We did that against Scotland."

The Dragons came back from a goal down to secure all three points as Gareth Bale cancelled out James Morrison's 27th-minute strike with a penalty in the 81st minute after it was deemed he had been fouled by Shaun Maloney, and then cracked home a superb winner with a minute of normal time remaining.

There were some controversial moments in the match, with Scotland being denied what they thought was a legitimate goal to make it 2-0 in the second half when a cross by Charlie Adam from which Steven Fletcher headed the ball in was adjudged to have gone out of play - despite replays suggesting otherwise.

There were also questions raised as to the amount of contact there had been between Maloney and Bale in the incident which resulted in the penalty, although the Scottish player was quoted post match as saying he "accepted responsibility".

Giving his view on the matter, Coleman said: "Let's flip the coin - how many times does Gareth get booted, stopped or fouled by tackles not within the rules of the game and players get away with it? A lot. When he is running that fast and Maloney comes in just behind him, in the box the least tap and he is going down - whether he wants to or not I think."

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