By Dan Heard and James Lloyd
Chris Coleman believes his Wales side will be treated differently by other teams following their summer Euro heroics in France.
Wales shocked the world as they reached the semi-final stage of the European Championships in the summer, only to be beaten by eventual champions, Portugal.
“People will look at us differently now”, said Coleman.
“In the last campaign we were seen as a scalping team. Teams would come here thinking that they were probably going to get three points, and be disappointed if they didn’t. That’ll change now. Teams will come here and be happy with a point, and with that comes a different responsibility for us.
“I’ve not seen anything this week that is different to what I’ve seen in the last three, four, five years. We have to be like that no matter what the opposition brings, no matter what their game plan is, we’ll always bring about our game plan and that’s what we stick to”.
The 46 year old was also quick to reassure the media of any lingering fitness doubts within the Wales camp ahead of tomorrow night’s opening 2018 World Cup qualifier against Moldova at the Cardiff City Stadium.
The likes of Swansea’s Neil Taylor and skipper Ashley Williams’ have had limited game time for their clubs prior to linking up with squad, but Coleman said he was confident in their abilities. “You’ve got to look at the minutes that they’ve performed, but it’s a constant worry to be honest, when you get players from their clubs, and you look at how much game time they’ve had”.
Coleman, who rejected an offer to manage Hull City in the summer added: “Hal Robson-Kanu is a classic example, in that he’s had no game time, no training, except with us, so there’s an impact then of course on how much of a part he can play.
“It’s the same for all the players, but the likes of Tayls and Ash, they’ve been training every day, so I think for those boys, especially with their experience, for them to start it’s not a problem”.
New Everton defender Williams echoed his manager’s view that he, and the rest of the squad, are prepared for another round of tough qualifying games.
“We’re ready. I think it’s obviously good to get back into camp and see friends, exchange stories of the summer and what happened, but it’s business as usual really. I’ve had two 90 minutes and training is pretty intense up there [Everton] as well, so I feel fine and ready.
“It’s down to the gaffer really to see what kind of shape the boys are in, but they are ready to play, and the gaffer will pick who he thinks is ready as well”.
Moldova are currently ranked 165th in the world, and lost eight of their most recent qualifying games, but neither manager nor captain were expecting an easy ride.
“Predominantly, they don’t concede a lot of goals”, Coleman said.
“They lose one nil or two one, they’re always in the game and they make it difficult for the opposition. They’re very well organised, they’re aggressive, and they’re big and physical. It’s not a game where we think we can just roll up and it’s going to come our way, and it’s going to be over after sixty minutes”.
Kick off tomorrow night at the Cardiff City Stadium is 7:45pm.