Tag Archives: coleman

Darron Gibson out for a month with thigh strain

Everton star Gibson out of action for a month after suffering thigh strain



14:33 GMT, 31 December 2012

Everton midfielder Darron Gibson will be out of action for at least a month after suffering a thigh strain.

The Irishman will miss the Merseysiders’ fixtures against Newcastle, Swansea, Southampton and West Brom in January.

Everton manager David Moyes said: 'I think he's going to be out for about four weeks.

Gibson should be back in time for the clash against former club Manchester United on February 10.

Injured: Gibson will be out for at least a month

Injured: Gibson will be out for at least a month

The 25-year-old spent more than two months on the sidelines earlier in the season with a similar problem.

He missed 10 Barclays Premier League matches as a result and a further absence is a significant blow to Everton as he has been one of their key players since arriving in January.

Moyes still has Kevin Mirallas (hamstring), Tony Hibbert (calf) and Seamus Coleman out, while Phil Neville (knee) had to be rested against Chelsea having played two matches in five days on his comeback from surgery.

Seamus Coleman signs new Everton contract

Coleman seals new Everton deal which keeps him at Goodison until 2018



11:36 GMT, 31 December 2012

Everton defender Seamus Coleman has signed a new five-and-a-half-year contract with the club.

It means the 24-year-old Republic of Ireland international has extended his stay at Goodison Park until the summer of 2018.

'I'm over the moon. I'm glad to get it all done and to sign for so long at a club like Everton is a great achievement – I want to be here for as long as possible,' he told evertontv.

Long term: Seamus Coleman has committed his future to Everton

Long term: Seamus Coleman has committed his future to Everton

'Signing a contract here is fantastic and I'm really looking forward to the next couple of years.

'I'm going to keep working as hard as I have done since day one and keep improving every day in training to impress the manager.

'I'm really happy to have signed for the length of time that I have.'

Loyal: Coleman says he wants to stay with the club for as long as possible

Loyal: Coleman says he wants to stay with the club for as long as possible

Coleman has missed the last three games through injury but has proved to be an increasingly useful addition on the right-hand side.

Having joined from Sligo Rovers in January 2009 for just 60,000 he made his debut against Benfica in October that year and later went on loan to Blackpool in their promotion-winning year.

He was rewarded with a new three-year contract in May 2010 and signed an improved four-and-a-half-year deal in January 2011 in a season in which he made 24 Premier League starts, his best to date.

Manager David Moyes found a place for him on the right of midfield for many of those early first-team appearances but has since slotted him back into the side on the right of defence.

Man City legend Francis Lee: My top player was on 15 grand a week when I was chairman blimey, academy lads are on that now

Legend Lee who paved way to Etihad reflects on City's incredible journey: My top player was on 15 grand a week – blimey, academy lads are on that now



23:01 GMT, 8 December 2012

Francis Lee can pinpoint the moment he realised being the chairman of Manchester City might send him round the bend. Watching his team thrashed at Old Trafford, Lee was aghast by what he saw when Andrei Kanchelskis scored a fifth United goal in a 5-0 victory.

'A couple of United players were laughing – so were the defenders of Manchester City. I thought “Oh Christ, I can't believe that”,' he said. 'It was a little giggle and a shrug of the shoulders as if to say “Oh, that is five”. Kanchelskis got three that night and our left-back still thought he'd had a good game!

Flamboyant: Former City chairman Francis Lee

Flamboyant: Former City chairman Francis Lee

'They were the bad old days. We spent too much money on a new stand and infrastructure when we should have spent it on players. And our managers weren't very good, although I've got to take responsibility for appointing them.'

Franny on Balotelli

What's he done wrong exactly Plenty of players today do far worse than a few problems with fireworks. I played with a guy called Tony Coleman at City. He'd come into training still in his dinner jacket and tie, smelling of vodka. The manager had to introduce a rule just for TC: any player spotted out after midnight on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday would be fined two weeks' wages.

Nobody packed inside the Etihad Stadium for the Manchester derby between the two best teams in the country knows Manchester City like Lee.

As a barrel-chested, prolific centre-forward, he earned cult status for winning the League Championship, FA Cup and European Cup-winners' Cup in consecutive seasons under manager Joe Mercer and his colourful coach, Malcolm Allison.

Then, having made a fortune in business, he returned to City as chairman in 1994, when they were a financial basket-case rather than Premier League superpower.

Back then, there were no Abu Dhabi millions to spend. Instead, Lee put in charge Alan Ball, whose team shielded the ball when they needed to score to avoid relegation, Steve Coppell, who quit after 28 days, and Frank Clark, whose job was to take City out of the old First Division. Clark succeeded – not by getting the club promoted back to the Premier League but by getting them relegated to the third tier of English football.

Lee, by nature an optimist and extrovert, was moved to say: 'If cups were awarded for cock-ups, you would not be able to move in City's boardroom.'

Legend: Lee in his playing days

Legend: Lee in his playing days

Looking back now to those turbulent times, Lee still has to pinch himself at how the club has changed in little more than a decade.

Franny on City's dream signing

Some fans might not like it
but I'd go out and try to buy
Cristiano Ronaldo. He can win
a game at the drop of a hat
even when he's having a
moan. When you line up
against someone like
Ronaldo, you wouldn't have
a clue how to stop him. He can
play on either wing
and is unplayable on
his day.

'I didn't pay a lot for City because it was completely skint. The top earner in my time was Georgi Kinkladze on about 15 grand a week. Blimey, the Academy lads are on that now. The turnover was 4.5million when I became chairman. When I left in 1998 it was over 30m – now it is 240m.'

On Sunday, Roberto Mancini has the most expensive Premier League squad in history to choose from, part an overall 1billion investment from Sheik Mansour since he bought City in 2008.

Lee's largest single purchase was 3.75m for Portsmouth striker Lee Bradbury, a deal that still gives him nightmares. Bradbury played just 40 matches, scoring 10 goals before being sold to Crystal Palace for half the amount Lee had paid.

Lee recalled: 'I asked our manager, Frank Clark, if he was sure because it was a lot of money. He said ''Yes, this lad could be the next Alan Shearer''. I saw his debut in pre-season at Burnley and he never looked to get into the six-yard box like a lead striker should. I went home afterwards and my wife, Gill, said “What is it, you look fed up” I said “This new striker, I don't fancy him, honestly''.'

It had been different in Lee's playing heyday during the Swinging Sixties when United and City battled for trophies. Once the matches were over, rival players would go out clubbing together.

'Manchester was a fantastic place to go out in,' says Lee. 'There were 10 clubs with world-class cabaret and comedians. You'd go in and Tom Jones might be singing, or Shirley Bassey or Engelbert Humperdinck. The United lads would go to the same places. Besty (George Best) was always in Blinkers or Mr Smiths. He was a prize asset for any club who could have him in there regularly because he used to pack it out with young girls who all fancied becoming his wife, which was a big mountain to climb. Some of the younger players used to follow on, hoping to get a few of his cast-offs.'

Nightmare: City paid 3.75m for Lee Bradbury

Nightmare: City paid 3.75m for Lee Bradbury

The charismatic Allison was as likely to join his players for a night out as punish them, a practice it is hard to imagine current manager Mancini adopting, given his reputation for keeping his distance from his squad. But Lee, who played for the ultimate disciplinarian Sir Alf Ramsey at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, does not see any problem with City's Italian manager.

Franny on England

I'd like to see David Moyes as our next manager. He's done wonders with relatively limited resources at Everton and that's basically the same situation he'd have with England. People say we can't appoint him because he's Scottish. Why not We've had an Italian, a Swede and a half-Dutchman.

'You don't have to be popular with the players to be a good manager or coach,' he insists. 'Alf Ramsey was never the life and soul of the party. He would turn to anybody – no matter how big a name – and say “Look, if you don't start pulling your socks up, you can kiss this bloody international squad goodbye”. If Alf gave you a rollocking, you knew you had been told off.

'He accused me twice of going to the Sportsman's Club in Tottenham Court Road and getting drunk. It wasn't me because I'd never been there in my life – but he said if he ever got proof, he would drop me like a stone.

Impressive: Lee would have liked to have played with Sergio Aguero

Impressive: Lee would have liked to have played with Sergio Aguero

'City haven't lost a League game
since April. They beat West Brom with 10 men this season. That doesn't
happen if the players don't have attitude and spirit. The Champions
League has been a learning curve but it's a higher grade of football.
The tempo is very high and didn't suit one or two of the current
players. It'll take time to readjust.'

Six of the best Manchester derbies

Man United 0 Man Cit y 1
April 27, 1974

United would have gone down anyway, no matter what the result of this game. But defeat by their old rivals confirmed it – and Denis Law scored with a cheeky back-heel that merely twisted the knife a little bit more.

Man Cit y 5 Man United 1
September 23, 1989

Sir Alex Ferguson claimed this was the worst defeat of his career. Under pressure and struggling to make an impact, the Scot's new-look side were dismantled by a rampant, newly-promoted City. David Oldfield scored twice, with Trevor Morley and Ian Bishop also finding the net before Andy Hinchcliffe completed the rout. Mark Hughes was United's scorer.

Man City 2 Man United 3
November 7, 1993

Two-up through a Niall Quinn double, City supporters were in ecstasy at half-time. But Eric Cantona pulled one back straight after the break, then equalised before Roy Keane completed a comeback to remember.

Man United 5 Man City 0
November 10, 1994

United in their pomp and City beginning their slide to near-oblivion. Russian winger Andrei Kanchelskis scored the first derby hat-trick for 24 years after Cantona and Hughes had put United in command.

Man United 4 Man Cit y 3
September 20, 2009

An extraordinary game, settled by Michael Owen in the sixth minute of stoppage-time. Wayne Rooney opened the scoring after two minutes before Gareth Barry capitalised on a Ben Foster mistake to level. Darren Fletcher and Craig Bellamy each scored twice, with City believing they had earned a share of the spoils – until a Boy's Owen finish in his first start in a United shirt.

Man United 1 Man City 6
October 23, 2011

Mario Balotelli's opener, before revealing that 'Why Always Me' T-shirt, started a rout the like of which had never been seen. The Italian added another, Sergio Aguero put City three up, then, after Darren Fletcher had pulled one back, Edin Dzeko (two, left) and David Silva netted in stoppage-time to condemn United to their

Lee was surrounded by quality in
City's golden era, most notably from his great friend, Mike Summerbee,
and Colin Bell. His own contribution saw him dubbed 'Lee-won-pen'
because of his ability to win and convert penalty-kicks. He would have
relished playing in the current City side, although he has some
interesting advice on how to get the best out of their strikers, who are
well down on last season's huge goals tally.

'I would love to have played with
David Silva,' Lee adds. 'Vincent Kompany is an extremely good player and
the goalkeeper, Joe Hart, is top drawer – in the Peter Schmeichel
class. If you were being pernickety, you might say he could still tidy
up his distribution a bit.

'And I would like to have played up
front with Carlos Tevez or Sergio Aguero. They make life uncomfortable
for defenders but invariably play too close together. I'd like to see
them spread out 20 metres apart, giving defenders nightmares on the
outside and allowing the big feller, Yaya Toure, to bomb through the
gaps in the middle.'

Born and raised in Bolton, Lee was one of the first footballers to break the stereotype that their brains were kept in their boots. He made his first-team debut for his hometown club at 16, thereby putting on hold his training to be a draughtsman.

Encouraged by his father, he pursued an interest in business during his playing days and was rewarded when he sold his toilet-roll manufacturing business, FH Lee, in 1984.

He had not needed the help of an agent to negotiate the contract that made him the best-paid player in England when he joined Derby County in 1976 on wages of 1,000 a week.

The following year he bought the Cheshire home where he still lives, with enough land at the back to run a successful horse-racing stable.

His part in City's history is indelible, and he is proud that he was the chairman at the start of negotiations that would see City leave their Maine Road home for the Commonwealth Games stadium.

'I was at a Premier League meeting and Sir John Hall (Newcastle United's chairman), who was in property, said to me: “You've landed lucky, haven't you”. His information was that Manchester was going to host the Commonwealth Games in the Queen's Golden Jubilee year of 2002, which meant a big, new stadium.

'There was really only going to be one team to go there and it meant City didn't have to spend the same amount as for their own ground. The city council approached us and we worked on that from there.'

The rest, as they say, is history, and at least when Lee walks up to The Etihad today, he will not be worried about another five-goal beating from United.

Gary Speed will not be forgotten – Chris Coleman

We will never forget you, Gary, says Coleman on anniversary of Speed's death



00:08 GMT, 27 November 2012

Wales boss Chris Coleman says Gary Speed will never be forgotten as Welsh football prepares to mark the first anniversary of the former manager's death on Tuesday.

Former Wales, Leeds, Everton, Newcastle, Bolton and Sheffield United midfielder Speed died at the age of 42 a year ago, prompting a huge outpouring of grief from within the game for a popular and respected figure.

Speed had overseen a run of four wins in five games as Wales boss, and his former team-mate and friend Coleman has faced the unenviable task of replacing him.

One year on: Gary Speed committed suicide last November

One year on: Gary Speed committed suicide last November

The former Fulham boss admits Welsh football is still in shock at Speed's untimely death.

'Forget the football, Gary was a great guy, different class,' said Coleman.

'I was lucky enough to have known him for a long time. He's greatly missed – I still miss him. I will always miss him.

'I can't believe it's a year ago. You don't ever forget something like that. I will probably never get over it. You try to deal with it as time goes on.

'But you don't forget someone like Gary. We never will.

'It will be a difficult day and Christmas will be difficult for his family, but we are all here to support them.'

Since Speed's death Wales have secured just one win, the World Cup qualifying defeat of Scotland last month.

And Coleman is more aware than most of the challenge his squad have faced in trying to get over the loss of their former manager.

Remembered: Speed's death shocked the world of football

Remembered: Speed's death shocked the world of football

He said: 'I think people forget about the players. People just think they have to go out and get results. Of course, Gary's death was bound to have affected them.

'Players hold a lot of their emotions in. The dressing room is not the place where you show emotion.

'You hide everything. They will have dealt with it in their own time and space. It's been very hard for them and the players have handled it really well.

'You can't prepare for something like that because you don't think it will ever happen. When it happens it is a massive shock and surprise.'

Football Association of Wales staff will meet tomorrow to remember Speed at the governing body's headquarters in Cardiff. Flowers will be laid and an image of Speed will be lit up outside the building.

Coleman said: 'As a staff at the FAW we will go out for lunch to remember Gary.

Tough times: Chris Coleman has struggled since taking over from Speed

Tough times: Chris Coleman has struggled since taking over from Speed

'It's fitting that we do. It's about remembering someone we were very fond of. We will celebrate Gary's life, but I'm sure there will also be some tears.

'A lot of the staff in the offices knew Gary for 18 months. I knew him for 30 years. All of us have a relationship with him and all had the same opinion. He was a great guy.'

In a statement FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford added: 'We not only lost the National Team Manager, we also lost a friend and colleague.

'Our thoughts today, as they are every day, are with Gary's family – his wife Louise, sons Ed and Tom, his parents Roger and Carol and his sister Lesley.'

Coleman was speaking at a 24-hour cycle by former Wales midfielder Matt Jones in memory of Speed.

The 32-year-old has already completed a series of half-marathons, the London marathon, a run up and down Mount Snowdon, and a sky-dive, raising thousands of pounds for charities supported by Speed, including the Bobby Robson Foundation, the John Hartson Foundation and the Spinal Injuries Association.

"I couldn"t pretend to be Welsh": Birmingham-born Turner rejects Coleman"s advances

'I couldn't pretend to be Welsh': Birmingham-born Turner rejects Coleman's advances



14:03 GMT, 27 October 2012

Cardiff City's Ben Turner has turned his back on the chance to play international football for Wales, admitting he did not want to 'kid' anyone.

The 24-year-old defender qualifies to play for Chris Coleman's side through his Welsh grandmother – and the Wales boss had been scouting his progress.

Yet Turner, who has represented England at Under 19 level, was quick to reject the offer of changing allegiance, saying he did not want to 'pretend to be a Welshman'.

'Clear conscience': Ben Turner (right) will not be playing for Wales

'Clear conscience': Ben Turner (right) will not be playing for Wales

'I’m English and that’s how it is,' the Birmingham-born player told the BBC.

'I wouldn’t want to stop anyone for wanting to play international football if they felt it was right for them and they can justify it in their own head.

Familiar face: Chris Coleman worked with Turner at Coventry

Familiar face: Chris Coleman worked with Turner at Coventry

'But I couldn’t justify it for me and clear my own conscience.

'It would be like I was pretending to be a Welshman when I’m not.

'I wouldn’t want to kid anyone but at the same time I don’t want to annoy anyone either because that’s not my style.

'It was very flattering to be asked and I know Chris Coleman well from when we were both at Coventry.

'It went through my head that “who am I to turn down playing for Wales”

'But I’m not doing it because of that, I’m doing it for my own reasons which are the right reasons.

'Would a Welsh guy asked to play for England, would he do that

'I probably won’t have the chance to play for England but, in my head, that’s not the point.'

Chris Coleman points to the positives despite seeing Wales slump to defeat in Croatia

Coleman points to the positives despite seeing Wales slump to defeat in Croatia



22:53 GMT, 16 October 2012

Chris Coleman was relatively upbeat despite seeing his Wales side suffer a third defeat in their first four World Cup qualifiers.

Goals from Mario Mandzukic and Eduardo gave Croatia a 2-0 win in Osijek to leave Wales on just three points.

The first goal came after Ashley Williams left his back-pass short on the uneven pitch and Mandzukic charged down goalkeeper Lewis Price's clearance and scored.

Painful viewing: Chris Coleman can barely bring himself to watch

Painful viewing: Chris Coleman can barely bring himself to watch

Coleman said: 'We were disappointed in the first goal we gave away – we just can't keep a clean sheet, we make one mistake and concede.

'Ashley Williams is a top-class defender, but that end of the pitch was very sticky and the ball got stuck. That made it difficult for Pricey, the striker closed him down and he couldn't go anywhere.'

The coach, who has now tasted defeat five times in six games since succeeding the late Gary Speed, was more positive about the way his players continued to fight after Eduardo's header doubled the home side's lead.

'We knew it would be difficult,' he told Sky Sports 2.

Gutted: Wales trudge off following defeat

Gutted: Wales trudge off following defeat

'What was pleasing for me was when we conceded the second goal we didn't disappear, we stuck at it – although we needed to get a quick goal back.

'The players didn't give up or fold, whatever they had they gave to us. We took a few more chances offensively and on another night we might have had a goal.

'But (Croatia) deserved the three points. We were beaten by a very good team but we can take some heart out of that performance.'

Gareth Bale must be protected by referees, says Chris Coleman

The referee must protect Bale, insists Wales boss Coleman ahead of Croatia clash



21:00 GMT, 15 October 2012

Chris Coleman has called for Gareth Bale to be given greater protection after admitting the Tottenham man will be Croatia’s No 1 target on Tuesday night.

Wales’ head coach is upset at the treatment meted out to the winger during the three qualification games so far and is certain of a repeat in Osijek.

Bale was the difference as Wales mounted a late fightback against Scotland last Friday, capping a virtuoso display with a spectacular winner.

Star man: Bale scored twice to help beat Scotland on Friday night

Star man: Bale scored twice to help beat Scotland on Friday night

He has now found the net in six of his last seven appearances for his country, and has scored their last five goals in qualifying. Not since Aaron Ramsey’s penalty against Switzerland 12 months ago has one of his team-mates scored.

But Bale was fouled repeatedly by Belgium and closely watched in Serbia. Coleman wants referee Alexandru Dan Tudor to keep an eye on him this evening.

‘He hasn’t had the protection he needs,’ said Coleman. ‘And there is a flip-side with players like Gareth. They can get kicked from pillar to post, so maybe they need looking after.

‘Officials have to be aware. They’re fouling but using the old hands-in-the-air routine. Running across him, having no interest in the ball.’

Marked man: Coleman fears opposition players will target Bale

Marked man: Coleman fears opposition players will target Bale

Wales team to play Croatia:

(4-4-1-1): Price; Gunter, Williams, Blake, B Davies; Bale, Allen,
Vaughan, Ledley; King; Morison.

Kick-off: 7pm, Gradski Stadium.

TV and
Radio: LIVE on Sky Sports 2 and BBC Radio Wales.

Coleman is considering using the winger in a central role, with former skipper Ramsey ruled out through suspension. ‘We’ve got options,’ he added. ‘Look where he got the winning goal from against Scotland. He was playing on the right. But when he runs through the middle, he can cause problems.’

While stopping Bale will be central to the plans of Croatia boss Igor Stimac, Coleman has Real Madrid playmaker Luca Modric to worry about. Modric was central to Croatia’s win in Macedonia on Friday night when they too came from a goal behind.

‘Teams don’t even bother man-marking him any more,’ said Coleman. ‘But someone needs to keep a close eye on Modric. There’s not many better than him. He’s so clever that if you did man-mark him, you might lose your shape.’

Wales’s last visit to the Balkans ended in a six-goal thumping in Serbia. Coleman added: ‘We were in the game at 2-1 just before half-time, but we didn’t have the game sense to accept that we should keep tight until the break and then go again. We lost a third and with it, a bit of heart. We cannot afford to be in a similar position.’

Gareth Bale hails Wales comeback against Scotland

We needed that! Bale delight after keeping Welsh World Cup dream alive



22:13 GMT, 12 October 2012

Gareth Bale believes Wales' 2-1 win against Scotland on Friday night can kickstart them in their 2014 World Cup qualification campaign.

A double from Bale secured all three points and a first victory in Group A for Wales despite Scotland having taken the lead through James Morrison in the first half.

But star man Bale had the final say in the clash in Cardiff when he won and converted a second half penalty, before grabbing a stunning long-range winner with a minute to go.

Matchwinner: Bale scored two late goals as Wales came from behind

Matchwinner: Bale scored two late goals as Wales came from behind

Bale told Sky Sports 1: 'We needed it, it's a kickstart to our campaign, hopefully it can inspire us now for the matches ahead.

'We all knew coming in it was a massive game for us.

'We let ourselves down as well as the nation last time out.

'We went a goal down but we fought back like men and it was a great result.'

As for the winning goal he said: 'There was a bit of space in front of me, I drove into it and no one closed me down.

'Some go in and some don't.'

Slow start: Bale and Wales manager Chris Coleman (centre) react to a refereeing decision

Slow start: Bale and Wales manager Chris Coleman (centre) react to a refereeing decision

It was Chris Coleman's first win as Wales manager since succeeding Gary Speed and he admitted it was a relief.

The former Fulham boss said: 'Overall, the performance over 90 minutes – if we had come away with nothing it would have been a travesty.

'Scotland scored against the run of play.

'Two great times to score, two great goals and a great player.'

Of Bale he said: 'When you've got that threat in the team then you always have a chance.

'We showed great belief, great character and great strength and got what we deserved.'

Magic moment: Bale is mobbed by team-mates after netting the winner

Magic moment: Bale is mobbed by team-mates after netting the winner

Magic moment: Bale is mobbed by team-mates after netting the winner

He had some sympathy for opposite number Craig Levein when it appeared the officials had wrongly disallowed a Steven Fletcher goal which would have made it 2-0.

However, he added: 'Over the course of 90 minutes there is always going to be a bit of controversy.'

Levein described the decision not to allow what he believed was a good goal as a 'body blow'.

He said: 'I haven't seen the incident but I believe the officials got it wrong.

'As the game panned out that second goal was absolutely crucial and not getting it was a real body blow.

Baffling decision: Fletcher (left) sees his goal wrongfully ruled out

Baffling decision: Fletcher (left) sees his goal wrongfully ruled out

'(When Wales equalised) we didn't feel we were under enormous pressure at all.

'I'm amazed we have come in and lost. I didn't feel we were under any threat.'

Of Bale, Levein added: “We know how good a player he is. Once he gets into his flow he is very difficult to stop.

'From my point of view I am absolutely devastated. It is really difficult to take.'

I"m doing things my way now, insists Wales boss Coleman

I'm doing things my way now, insists Wales boss Coleman



21:21 GMT, 11 October 2012

Wales manager Chris Coleman insists he
is finally doing things his own way as he heads into a World Cup
qualifier with Scotland that will have a huge bearing on whether he
stays in his job.

The former Fulham and Coventry City
boss has endured a nightmare start – losing his first four matches –
since taking over from erstwhile playing colleague Gary Speed.

Under pressure: Wales boss Chris Coleman

Under pressure: Wales boss Chris Coleman

Wales lost 6-1 in Serbia last month – their third heaviest defeat since the Second World War – leaving questions as to Coleman's suitability as boss.

He has since relieved Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey of his duties as captain, replacing the midfielder with Ashley Williams, and finally admits to having escaped the legacy of the previous regime.

Three points in Cardiff before a sell-out crowd will go a long way towards restoring confidence. But a fifth defeat would make his start the worst of any Wales manager.

Fridays' match is followed by a difficult trip to Croatia on Tuesday and adding two more defeats to a record that is in stark contrast to Speed's four victories from five will leave serious questions to be answered.

Coleman, however, was pleased to finally have escaped the pressure he felt at having to follow the path set down by his late friend, albeit a path which was successful.

'I have felt inhibited,' he said, 'I felt the pressure of keeping to the same philosophy – that things couldn't change. That you don't fix what isn't broken.

New captain: Ashley Williams

New captain: Ashley Williams

'But we are four games in and we haven't won. We haven't gone forward. I had to change things.

'After the Serbia game, my normal reaction would have been an aggressive one. But I immediately looked more at myself.

'I thought that I was doing things the way someone else was doing them. It's tough because a lot of those things were good – but they were someone else's.

'We had a rhythm and flow under Gary. But we have lost it. And I think the players were looking at me saying: “What do you want to do”

'That's why I made Ashley skipper. It's a subtle change. We wanted a more experienced captain and he ticks all those boxes.

'Look, you can try on someone else's jacket but if it doesn't fit you, you can't keep wearing it.'

Williams is a logical choice to assume captaincy responsibilities. He said: 'It always falls on the shoulders of the manager when you get results like the one we got in Serbia but all the boys really like him.

Boost: Gareth Bale

Boost: Gareth Bale

'We actually want to win for him. You hear it all the time but it's true in this case. He's going to be criticised but we'd like to turn things around for him because I don't think the stick has been deserved.

'We have let him down. We need to put it right.

'Speaking for the players, we all want to win for the manager. I'm sure we won't lose the next two matches.'

There are mitigating circumstances to Wales' sudden decline. Coleman has suffered horribly through withdrawals of his major players. For instance, he has not been able to name Gareth Bale and Craig Bellamy in the same squad. Wales have also selected tough opposition in their friendlies. Mexico and Bosnia are strong at the moment.

Having said that, it was a shock that Wales conceded six goals just three days after a solid show with 10 men against Belgium.

'I don't think I will ever come to terms with what happened in Serbia, if I'm honest,' said Coleman. 'When you lose a game of football it's never a nice feeling. But when you get hit for six, especially for your country, you never swallow that.

'That feeling after the game, I never want to experience that again. Freak results happen, bad results happen. It makes you want to work harder, but come to terms with it No. Forget about it No. Brush it to one side You have to.

'The questions are: “How do we prepare for Scotland” and “How can we get three points”

'We have trained with a good intensity this week. It will be fast, aggressive and the atmosphere will be fantastic. I hope that we embrace it.'

Ashley Williams surprised to take over as Wales captain from Aaron Ramsey

Williams surprised to win Wales captaincy as he thought Ramsey was doing good job



16:23 GMT, 11 October 2012

Wales captain Ashley Williams admits he was surprised to be asked to lead the side again and has revealed he received congratulations from his predecessor Aaron Ramsey.

Dragons boss Chris Coleman opted to switch the armband from Arsenal midfielder Ramsey to Swansea skipper Williams ahead of the current international break, in which Wales play a double-header of World Cup qualifiers against Scotland at home on Friday and Croatia away on Tuesday.

Williams, 28, has captained his country on four occasions but after Ramsey had been named as skipper in 2011 at the age of 20, the Swans centre-back did not think he would get another opportunity.

Surprise: Ashley Williams (right) was not expecting to captain Wales again

Surprise: Ashley Williams (right) was not expecting to captain Wales again

Asked if had believed the armband would come his way again, Williams said: 'Probably not to be honest, because I thought Aaron was doing a good job.

'I was just concentrating on trying to play my best for Wales. So probably not, but I'm happy.

'He (Coleman) asked me if I wanted to do it – he didn't tell me I had to.

'He called me and said he had spoken to Aaron. Obviously I was over the moon, and he just said we would have a chat when we got to camp.'

Asked about Ramsey's reaction, Williams said: 'I have spoken to Aaron and he said congratulations.

'We kind of laughed and that was it really – no big deal. We get on fine.'

Wales head into the Scotland clash bottom of Group A having lost their first two fixtures, a 2-0 home reverse to Belgium and then a humiliating 6-1 defeat in Serbia.

Those results last month extended the Dragons' losing streak since Coleman was appointed as manager to five games, including the 1-0 defeat to Costa Rica in the Gary Speed memorial match.

Williams feels Friday's contest at Cardiff City Stadium is 'definitely a must-win match' and has stressed that the players want a victory for their manager, on whom the pressure has been increasing.

Referring to Coleman, Williams said: 'After the results I think you are always going to get criticised like that, especially him – being the manager, it is obviously going to fall on his shoulders.

'But I think all the boys really like him and we have enjoyed working with him.

'We really want to win for him as well – I think that is true in this case.

'He is going to be criticised and we would like to turn that around for him because I don't think it's really deserved.

Deposed: Ramsey has lost the Wales armband

Deposed: Ramsey has lost the Wales armband

'I think we have kind of let him down on the pitch and we would like to put that right.”

Scotland opened their own campaign in somewhat disappointing fashion with two home draws, 0-0 with Serbia and 1-1 with Macedonia.

It means the heat has also been on their manager Craig Levein, although Coleman is adamant both he and his opposite number can handle the criticism.

'Craig is a big boy like me,' Coleman said. 'We know as soon as you walk in the door, especially if it is an international job, there is more scrutiny on the games because there are fewer of them and less time to get things right.

'It is a nation looking at you. Craig can handle that, the same as I can.

Good job: Williams said Ramsey was doing a good job

Good job: Williams said Ramsey was doing a good job

'Once you start looking at the negative side of things, it stops you making decisions and it is finished for you.'

Serbia currently top Group A with four points, the same amount that Belgium and Croatia have, while Macedonia have one.

Assessing the situation, Coleman said: 'In terms of us doing a bit of damage in this group, then we have to get a win as quickly as we can.

'There is a game tomorrow night, so why not then Scotland are coming down and they are not going to lie down for us – they are under their own pressure.

'They have a good squad and it is going to be a typical British game I imagine – fast, probably aggressive, and with a fantastic atmosphere. We have to try to use that for our own benefit.'

Coleman confirmed wide man Gareth Bale, who has been nursing a heel complaint, would be taking part in full training today, but the manager does not expect defender Adam Matthews (ankle) to be fit to play in Friday's match.