NEWPORT’S Chris Gunter has labelled the criticism of boss Chris Coleman as "disgraceful," with Wales now back in World Cup 2014 contention.
With Coleman minutes away from potential disaster with his side trailing 1-0 to Scotland on Friday, he was Baled out by Tottenham’s Gareth whose sensational double puts Wales back into contention in WCQ Group A.
And Reading right back Gunter, who is building an increasingly impressive double act with former club team-mate Bale down the right flank, believes the thrilling comeback victory can inspire Wales to even greater heights in Croatia tomorrow.
The stakes couldn’t have been higher after Wales’ 6-1 drubbing against Serbia last time out, but Gunter insists Coleman never deserved the criticism that came by the ton following that hammering.
"I think if there has been pressure on Chris Coleman it’s ridiculous, what he’s had to come into, if people are talking about him losing his job it’s a disgrace really," he said.
"You can see from the effort the players put in on Friday that such talk (about Coleman getting sacked) is just completely wrong, it’s wrong. It’s not nice to see, he deserves as much praise as anyone for the preparation for this game and we know we all let a lot of people down in Serbia, including the manager.
"He’s come out this week and said he’s doing things more to his style... There is no right or wrong way but it was great scenes in the dressing-room after the game and it’s clear that everyone is together and hopefully we’ve turned the corner."
Gunter felt Wales were worthy winners and feels it’s a watershed moment after their stuttering start to the campaign when they were beaten by Belgium and Serbia.
"We deserved that, it’s a great feeling to win any game but to do it like that (in that manner) was unbelievable," he said.
"We always knew Scotland was a massive, must-win game, it’s a lot of pressure to deal with. People said the win against Montenegro (under the late Gary Speed) was a key turning-point but this feels even bigger, the occasion, with it being Scotland, the character we showed was tremendous and the manager and players deserve a lot of credit. We can take that momentum with us into the Croatia game."
As a former Tottenham colleague of Bale’s Gunter knows full well what a talent the Spurs flyer is, but he admits his virtuoso display on Friday was one of the finest of his career.
"First half Gareth caused a lot of problems but we felt like luck was deserting us, but we said at half-time that if we carried on as we had been we’d score the next goal and go on to win it and that’s what happened," he said.
"The goal we conceded, right after we’d had a chance to go ahead was unfortunate, it takes character to come back from that but we carried on doing what we believed in and it paid dividends.
"Gareth plays like that all the time, to score a goal like that in a game like that is unbelievable and shows his amazing quality."