Robert Page: Manager acknowledges Wales character ahead of Poland game


Robert Page replaced former Wales team-mate Ryan Giggs as national team manager
Place: Cardiff City Stadium Date: September 25, Sunday Start: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru, BBC Sport website and app, and live text online. BBC One Wales highlights from 10.30pm BST and later on demand

Wales manager Robert Page praised his side’s character after a 2-1 defeat in Belgium as they set up a must-win game against Poland on Sunday.

Wales pulled off an almost impossible comeback and now need to beat Poland in Cardiff to keep their place in the top tier of the Nations League.

“This is the game we want to win on Sunday. It’s a final,” said Page.

“He has studied here to enter the World Cup. I told them in the dressing room, this is what we asked for.

“Qualifying for the World Cup, we’re asked to compete against nations like Belgium, like Holland, and we’ve been in games until the very end. It speaks volumes about that group of players.

“It’s the nature of the players, they’ll never give up. We’ve proven that time and time again against world-class opposition.

“Tactically, of course, we will have to make tweaks and changes. They are the second seed in the world, by the way. We have come away from home, it is 2-1 at the death and we” are still creating chances.

“There are too many positives, I’m not going to be negative. Now it’s a game. If we’ve come here since June, we’ve qualified for the World Cup and stayed in the division. [Nations League A] then it’s a huge achievement for those players.”

This is Wales’ first campaign in the top tier of the Nations League, having beaten their side in the second tier last time out.

Thursday’s defeat to Belgium kept Wales bottom of their group with four defeats from five, but previous results did not help as Page was forced to play second-tier teams in June as he prepared for what would be a historic World Cup qualifier. Victory over Ukraine.

In Brussels he was again forced to rely on his middle players. Wales struggled in the first half against Belgium, badly weakened by the absence of injured first-team players such as Ben Davies, Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen and Harry Wilson.

Captain Gareth Bale only featured as a second-half substitute, with Page managing the 33-year-old’s workload due to his limited playing time with Los Angeles FC this season.

However, Page indicated that the former Real Madrid forward could start against Poland.

“The intention was always to play as few minutes as possible [against Belgium] with only one eye on Sunday,” he said.

“We just need to get the boys back. There will be some changes and we will put out a team to win the game.”