WALES manager Chris Coleman will tell his players to remember the pain of last summer’s defeat to England as they prepare for tonight’s crucial 2018 World Cup qualifier in Dublin.

Coleman led Wales to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 after recovering from the 2-1 group stage loss against the Three Lions.

But the defeat still rankles and he wants his players to learn from the mistakes they made in Lens nine months ago when they take on the Republic of Ireland at the Aviva Stadium this evening.

Recalling the England clash, when Gareth Bale’s first-half strike was cancelled out by Jamie Vardy’s equalizer before Daniel Sturridge hit a last-minute winner, Coleman said: “We went 1-0 up and then we wished our life away, rather than just enjoying those moments.

“It’s the same for the Republic of Ireland; 50,000 people in the Aviva Stadium, they’re top, everyone is billing it as a must-win game for us.

“But the game will come and go. It only lasts 90 minutes. The build-up beforehand goes on a lot longer than the game itself.

“I think you forget sometimes when you’re in it that you’ve got to enjoy it, the players have got to enjoy it on the pitch, and they’ll do that if they do what they’re good at.

“Whatever Ireland have got planned, whichever way they play, that’s up to them. We mustn’t get drawn into that.

“We’ve got to do what we’re good at and have confidence in ourselves.

“We can’t miss the game – we did that I think against England.

“We were disappointed after the England game because it was a British derby and there was so much surrounding it, and we got sucked into that.”

South Wales Argus:

It was a defeat that hit Coleman hard.

“We didn’t show ourselves in the game enough and never really did enough,” he added. “You can’t go back, it is gone. So I was absolutely gutted absolutely gutted.

“It was a dry camp, we were together seven weeks – no alcohol, staff or players. But I had a double whiskey by myself, sneaky one, out on the balcony as I was absolutely devastated.”

Wales trail Ireland by four points after four games in Group D and need a win tonight.

Defeat could precipitate the end of Coleman’s reign as national manager.

“I think until it’s mathematically impossible, we’ve always got a chance,” he said. “We’ve proved we can beat anybody. We can win back-to-back games. We can win three games on the bounce, because we’ve done it.

“It’s never easy, of course, but it’s do-able. So unless we can’t finish top and we can’t finish second, if that happens, then I’ll see how I feel and Wales will see how they feel, I imagine, because it is my last campaign.”

He added: “Five years I have been doing it. If I see this through, it will be six and a half, seven years. I think that is a long time as an international manager.

“I have never got used to the gaps in between games. The game against Serbia is a long time. I do miss it. I have never got used to it.

“The trade-off is standing there in the Aviva, singing the national anthem when you are manager of your country. It doesn’t get better than that either to be honest.

“But I think that will be a long time to be an international manager.”