Pressure is a good thing, says Coleman
CHRIS COLEMAN has embraced the pressure as Wales remain in the race for automatic 2018 World Cup qualification.
After seeing Tom Lawrence come up with a superb second-half winner in Tbilisi, Wales boss Coleman focused on the Ireland game and said: “We’re on dangerous ground if we go in with a game plan of trying to soak the pressure up for 90 minutes.
“We are too good to do that. We’ll go and attack, go and score goals, we have to do that — it’s our strength.
“A point may be OK, but we’ll go for three points. That’s the way it’s set up. I think it will be a sensational atmosphere in Cardiff and these are the games you want to be involved in. We always seem to play other countries who are involved and celebrating — but we welcome the pressure.”
Coleman felt Lawrence deserved the plaudits after working hard for the team against Austria and Moldova last month, only for Liverpool teenager Ben Woodburn to grab the headlines with game-changing contributions off the bench.
But he also reserved special praise for central defender Ashley Williams, who shrugged off indifferent early-season club form at Everton to produce a towering display to shut out Georgia.
“Ash is the captain and he’s a huge presence,” Coleman said. “He’s put in an awesome display because it’s tough coming here. It’s not all about Cardiff in the sun, 2-0 up, putting yourself up for a challenge here. He does it every time.”
Wales’ win was achieved without star man Gareth Bale — the first time they had done so in 11 games when the Real Madrid forward has been missing. Bale will be absent again for the Cardiff finale and Wales hope he will be fit in time if they are involved in the play-offs.
“The last four years have not just been about Gareth,” Coleman said. “He’s super important to us but we haven’t had him, Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsey a lot of the time.”