Wales cannot afford another thrashing warns Chris Coleman


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The Independent Football

Wales boss Chris Coleman has urged his team to be mindful of the lessons they learned from their thrashing in Serbia when they take on Croatia tonight.

The Dragons go into the World Cup qualifier in Osijek with some momentum after putting their first points on the board in Group A with Friday's 2-1 win over Scotland in Cardiff.

They had opened their campaign last month with a 2-0 home defeat against Belgium, a game from which Coleman felt his side - given they were depleted by injuries and reduced to 10 men in the first half - had actually emerged with a fair amount of credit.

However, they were then thrashed 6-1 four days later in Novi Sad and Coleman wants to see that the experience has served as a useful learning curve for his players.

"They (Croatia) are a good team littered with good players," Coleman said. "It is good for us to go there off the back of a win and a good performance.

"Nevertheless, I think we must learn from the last double-header; Belgium was a good performance even though we lost, and then we were poor against Serbia.

"We can't repeat that. It is a tough, tough game for us, but one we think we can get something out of."

Wales winger Gareth Bale was the star of the come-from-behind victory against Scotland, earning and converting an 81st-minute penalty before smashing home the winner with a minute of normal time remaining.

The 23-year-old also scored in the Serbia game, Wales' only other goal in the six matches - the first five of which were defeats - that they have now played since Coleman was appointed in January.

Asked if he felt his team were overly reliant on Bale, Coleman said: "He has (scored all three of their goals in the campaign), but you look at our performance on Friday and it wasn't just Baley.

"People are talking about him because he is a show-stopper, they pay money to come and watch him play. But we have another 10 players who play their part."

Wales moved off the bottom of Group A up to fourth with Friday's win, while Croatia are currently second, level on seven points with leaders Belgium.