'We were huffing and puffing' - Chris Coleman magnanimous as he admits Wales couldn't break Ireland down
Chris Coleman will consider his future as Wales manager after the 1-0 defeat against the Republic of Ireland. Coleman has been in charge for just under six years, and his contract expires at the end of the current World Cup cycle. But with Wales failing to make the cut for next summer’s tournament in Russia, Coleman refused to confirm that he would stay in his job.
“There’s a chance that I will, there’s a chance that I won’t,” he said. “I can’t give you any clear answer. The FAW [Football Association of Wales] have been great, they’ve left me alone. There’ll be a conversation now, and we’ll see. I’m going to take a bit of time with my children, and when the dust settles, we’ll see where we are.”
Coleman wished Ireland all the best in their two-legged play-off next month, while bemoaning the lack of creativity that led to their first competitive defeat at home in four years. “We needed that first goal,” he said. “Then we got a bit frustrated, started rushing things. It wasn’t enough in terms of imagination. We didn’t create enough.
“Once we started knocking it long, the Republic back four enjoyed that. In the end, we didn’t look like scoring. We were huffing and puffing on second balls. That’s not our game. We never lacked endeavour, we never lacked passion. We just couldn’t break them down.”
Ireland manager Martin O’Neill toasted a “fantastic performance” achieved without key players in Shane Long, Seamus Coleman and Jon Walters. “We had to withstand a lot of pressure, but every single time they got into the penalty area, we had men there,” he said. “We’re looking forward to the play-offs.”
The identity of Ireland’s opponents will be confirmed after Tuesday’s final group games and next week’s draw in Zurich. The Republic are already guaranteed to be one of the four unseeded teams in the draw, which means they could face Portugal, Italy or Croatia.
“Do we fear teams in it? Absolutely,” O’Neill said. “Every single one of them. Then we go out and beat them. I don’t think anyone would want to face Italy. I don’t think anyone would want to face Portugal. And there’s six others I would rather not have.”