Coleman: We’ll keep improving

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Published: Saturday 28th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Chris Coleman has warned Wales’ Group B rivals his side will continue to improve in the second half of the Euro 2016 qualifiers.

Wales reached the halfway point of the campaign top of the group after brushing aside Israel 3-0 in Haifa, Aaron Ramsey opening the scoring on half-time with a looping header and Gareth Bale adding two more in the second half.

Israel had started the day top of the group after winning their first three games but they collapsed alarmingly either side of half-time and their misery was completed when defender Eytan Tibi was sent off for two bookable offences in the 51st minute.

“We controlled the tempo of the game and it was a great performance,” Coleman said after Wales made it five games unbeaten in a qualifying campaign for the first time in 40 years to boost their hopes of reaching the 2016 finals in France.

“Israel is a good team and a difficult place to come in front of a big crowd and very passionate supporters, but we stayed calm and composed.

“Our objective after five games was to be in the top three and we have done that.

“We have not done half a job but we are improving and that’s a good sign.

“To come away from home and beat a team that’s top of the league 3-0, a team that beat one of the favourites, Bosnia, here 3-0; that’s definitely one of the best results, for sure.”

Wales now have 11 points from five games and Coleman believes 20 will prove enough to claim one of the two automatic qualifying spots on offer.

Group favourites Belgium play in Israel on Tuesday night before Wales welcome the Red Devils to Cardiff in June.

“You’ve got to be really unlucky if you get to 20 and you don’t get to the first top two,” Coleman said.

“We’ve done some good work and we’re on the right road but there’s some distance left.

“We’ve got the chance to prove we are the best Welsh team since the one that qualified for the 1958 World Cup.

“I played in Welsh teams in 1994 and 2004 where we nearly did it and now we have the opportunity to go a step further.

“People say it’s a golden generation but we need to earn it. We’re doing it but we’ve not done it yet.

“But we want the chance to prove since 1958 this team is as good as anything that’s gone before.”

Bale’s double strike took him to 16 goals and joint sixth on the Welsh scoring list and came after his club form at Real Madrid had been the subject of major scrutiny.

“What’s a plus with international football is when you come away from your clubs, then you are concentrating on something different and your mind is on something else,” Coleman said.

“It’s been wildly publicised about what’s going on with Madrid, there’s a bit of criticism flying at Gareth, but he did tonight what he’s been doing for sometime with Wales.

“He’s got the jersey on, he’s got his sleeves rolled up and he’s mucking in like everyone else.

“When you’ve got the ability that boy has got, then anything possible of course. But he’s doing the hard work as well and that was another good performance from him.”

Israel coach Eli Guttman admitted his side could not handle Bale when they were reduced to 10 men by Tibi’s dismissal but he insisted their qualification hopes were far from over.

“Bale is a great player but he showed more in his performance after the red card when he had the space to work with,” Guttman said.

“They created more chances than us but I am disappointed not shocked by the result.

“They are in a better position than us but nothing is finished in the group.

“We are coming to the middle now and there is still a long way to go.”

Published: Saturday 28th March 2015 by The News Editor

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