Chris Coleman - First year with Wales has been tough

Last Updated: 21/10/12 2:48pm

Chris Coleman says he should have stamped his own authority on the Wales job more quickly than he has.

The former Fulham and Coventry manager took over the international reins following the death of Gary Speed last year and says he tried to follow the style put in place by his predecessor.

But after a string of disappointing results, including a 6-1 World Cup qualifying defeat in Serbia, he has now opted to impose his own personality on the squad.

He feels that contributed to the improved performances against Scotland and Croatia last week, but admits it has been a difficult first 11 months in charge of Wales.

"Before taking this job, people were saying to be careful because it may be a no-win situation," he explained on Goals on Sunday.

"But it's your country at the end of the day. I did have one or two reservations just before I took it for the obvious reasons, but I wanted to do it. One day I wanted to be the manager of my country. There's no greater honour, for me.

"But it has been tough. I probably made some problems for myself and should have maybe changed things earlier.

"There was a lot said when I took the job. Things were going very well, the boys were getting results and if it's not broke then don't fix it, so when I came in I said I'd try to keep things the same as much as I could.

"We had a friendly against Mexico in American and lost 2-0, but we played well enough. Then we lost to Bosnia 2-0 at home and then we had the qualifiers; we lost to Belgium, got hammered by Serbia and now we need to climb a mountain.

"To be fair to the boys, they came up trumps against Scotland and the performance against Croatia wasn't a bad performance and they worked hard.

"Maybe I should have changed it earlier, but I've never been in this situation; none of us have. The players have suffered as well; you forget about the players and look at the results, but there's more elements in the equation in this situation. It's unique and we've all found ourselves in a situation we didn't want.

"It is what it is and we are where we are, but the last 10 days in the camp was better. I felt more at home with it because I was doing it more.

"I'll change more, but you can't change too quickly. "


Wales sit fifth in their World Cup qualifying group with three points from the four games played so far.

Coleman's side are already seven points behind both Belgium and Croatia, but while he admits those teams are in a strong position, he is refusing to give up on reaching Brazil just yet.

"Belgium and Croatia have it in their hands," he said.

"Even at the start people fancied Belgium and Croatia and we were fifth seeds anyway. Macedonia have been the surprise package, but not for me because I've seen them and they're a good team.

"Belgium and Croatia have got to have a real big wobble and it's possible because there's six games to play.

"We've just got to make sure if we can't qualify that we finish as high as we can to put us in a better pot for the European Championships, which is after the World Cup.

"There's six games and loads of points to play for, but realistically it's in the hands of Belgium and Croatia. If they get it together they're good enough to go on and win the group."