Chris Coleman: I tried too hard to protect Gary Speed's legacy at Wales
Friday 12 October 2012
Chris Coleman has admitted the difficulties of changing what he inherited as Wales manager from Gary Speed ahead of tonight's crucial qualifier against Scotland in Cardiff.
Wales have lost both of their qualifiers so far, and all four of their games since Coleman took over as manager. Neither British team has a good chance of qualifying from Group A for the 2014 World Cup, but Wales' record – having lost at home against Belgium and then 6-1 in Serbia – is worse.
Coleman's difficulties extend far beyond football, of course. He took the job in tragic circumstances, following the death of Gary Speed. Succeeding someone so loved and so missed is not easy, as the 42-year-old explained yesterday.
Speed famously played passing football, which Coleman tried to preserve, and he now admits that he should have changed more when he took over. "Whatever was being done before was working, but it hasn't been working," Coleman told Sky Sports News. "So I think the worst thing we could have done is keep it the same. When I got the job – [I was thinking] if it's not broke you don't fix it, or you don't try and change it too much. But I think maybe if I'm at fault for anything I should have changed sooner. We've tried to change what we're doing, little subtle differences, and the players have enjoyed it and more importantly they've got good things out of it."
Hoping for fresh impetus, Coleman has appointed a new captain. Aaron Ramsey's armband has passed to Swansea City defender Ashley Williams, who admitted the players have let Coleman down so far.
"You are always going to get criticised after the results we've had, especially if you are the manager," Williams said. "But all the boys really like him and we have enjoyed working with him. We really want to win for him – that is true in this case. We would like to turn it around for him because we have let him down on the pitch. We would like to put that right. We have to win and we put that pressure on ourselves all the time, especially with the way the group is looking at the moment."
Scotland's start has been frustrating in its own way. Their first two games were Serbia and Macedonia at home, with six points required. They drew 0-0 and 1-1. Only now has manager Craig Levein called up his best player, Steven Fletcher, but four points have been thrown away.
Kick-off Tonight, 7.45pm, Cardiff City Stadium.
TV Sky Sports 1.
Referee F Meyer (Germany).
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