Rob Page urges Wales to improve discipline against opponents ‘good at dark arts’

The Dragons have had five players sent off in the last two years.

Phil Blanche
Tuesday 20 June 2023 12:00 BST
Wales manager Rob Page has seen his side reduced to 10 men all too often by red cards over recent months (Adam Davy/PA)
Wales manager Rob Page has seen his side reduced to 10 men all too often by red cards over recent months (Adam Davy/PA) (PA Wire)

Rob Page says Wales must improve their discipline against opponents “good at the dark arts” of football.

Wales were reduced to 10 men for the second successive game as Joe Morrell was sent off in Monday’s 2-0 European Championship qualifying defeat to Turkey.

Morrell’s first-half dismissal in Samsun for a studs-up challenge on Ferdi Kadioglu came just a few days after Kieffer Moore was sent off for kicking Armenia goalkeeper Ognjen Chancharevich.

Losing players to red cards has become a recurring theme for Wales who had goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey sent off against Iran at the World Cup in November and Ethan Ampadu and Harry Wilson banished at the delayed Euro 2020 finals two years ago.

“We should be disciplined enough to keep 11 players on the pitch,” manager Page said.

“Kieffer’s fallen for it on Friday, the keeper knew exactly what he was doing. It’s the softest red card, but you lift your foot and you open yourself up for a red card.

“Joe is the same. He has not got it in him to hurt somebody, but you lift your foot and you’re asking the question.

“We frustrated Turkey and I told the players I was proud of them, but we shouldn’t have to put in a shift like that with 10 men.

“We’ve got to learn from it because these teams are good at the dark arts and we’ve got to know not to retaliate.”

Wales’ Samsun setback has left them with a mountain to climb to claim a top-two qualifying spot from Group D.

They have dropped to fourth and are five points off leaders Turkey, while Armenia and Croatia are also above Wales with games in hand.

“We’ve seen Armenia beat Latvia in the 91st minute (on Monday),” said Page.

“Both teams are capable of picking points up. There’s loads of points to play for and we have got to have that mentality where we have got to win every game now.

“To give ourselves a chance, that has got to be the mentality.”

Wales are almost certainly guaranteed a play-off place and qualifying for Germany next summer through that particular route should they not finish in the top two.

Midfielder Ampadu told S4C: “We have to pick ourselves up for the remaining group games.

“Lucky there’s still games to play and while you have a chance there’s still every hope.

“Every now and then your confidence can take a knock, but the belief is still there that we can go (to Euro 2024).

“This has not been our best camp but roll on September to put it right.”

Wales resume their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign away to bottom-placed Latvia on September 11.

They host Croatia in Cardiff in October before finishing with a November double-header away to Armenia and at home to Turkey.

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