Williams wants to build on first victory
WALES captain Ashley Williams hailed his side’s late, late show as they roared back to life in World Cup 2014 qualification with a last-gasp win over Scotland, writes Michael Pearlman.
Williams, leading Wales for the first time in a competitive contest, is now content that things can and will get better for Chris Coleman’s side.
"Gareth Bale was unbelievable, one of the best in the world right now and it’s so important for us he stays fit and healthy if we are going to do anything in this group.
"We’ve put Serbia away to bed, we needed to win at any cost against Scotland and we need to build on it in Croatia.
"Hopefully it’s a turning-point. It was a much-improved performance, we were braver, we played the ball like we used to and it’s something we need to build on."
Midfielder David Vaughan also felt the match was a turning-point for Wales and was keen to pay tribute to Bale’s contribution.
"It was a difficult game but we dug in, right until the end, and Gareth got a great goal for us at the end," he said.
"We felt like it was here we go again, we’d been on top for most of the game and were 1-0 down but we battled for a result we absolutely had to get, which was a win.
"There was plenty of spice to the game because it was Scotland, it was like an English Premier League game and Croatia would’ve been even more daunting without a victory.
"We are happy for the manager. The players have always been behind Chris Coleman, it takes time to get used to a new regime but it’s been a happier camp this week, Chris Coleman has seemed more settled and it rubs off on the players.
"Gareth got a great winner for us and he is right up there with anyone I’ve shared a pitch with, not many players in the world can do what he can."
l Wales have moved to fill the void left by Aaron Ramsey’s suspension after the Arsenal man picked up his second booking of qualification in Friday’s victory over Scotland.
Wolves midfielder David Edwards, who started the previous two qualifiers, returns to the squad that flew out to Croatia today for tomorrow night’s qualifier.