Coleman: Wales cannot dwell on absentees

Salisbury Journal: Chris Coleman's side endured another game without scoring Chris Coleman's side endured another game without scoring

Wales manager Chris Coleman has told his players they cannot afford to feel sorry for themselves as they look to get their World Cup 2014 qualifying campaign back on track.

The Dragons got off to a losing start as they went down 2-0 to Group A favourites Belgium at Cardiff City Stadium on Friday night. The home side made a solid start against their heavily-fancied opponents, but the 25th-minute sending off of defender James Collins for a reckless lunge on Guillaume Gillet effectively scuppered their hopes of getting a result.

Premier League stars Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen got the goals for Marc Wilmots' side to condemn Wales to defeat. Coleman was also not helped by a lengthy list of injury absentees, but he said that red cards and injuries will be no excuse.

With Joe Allen, Craig Bellamy, Neil Taylor, Andrew Crofts, Wayne Hennessey and Jack Collison among those missing, Coleman said: "It is important to get something. People are not going to look at our situation and say we had this guy and this guy and that guy missing, they are going to say 'you've got no points', which is fair enough."

He added: "We have to show the same attitude as we showed against Belgium. We will try and keep 11 players on the pitch obviously and if we do that we will pick points up, I am certain of that. I am certain of that because we have just played the strongest team in the group and done well."

Liverpool midfielder Allen could yet recover from illness to feature against Serbia in Novi Sad on Tuesday, although Collins will be missing through suspension after his dismissal. That fixture takes on extra significance for Wales, who cannot afford to begin the campaign with back-to-back defeats.

Just over two weeks ago the Dragons turned in a wretched performance in losing 2-0 to Bosnia-Herzegovina, but the former Fulham boss feels he saw more than enough against Belgium to suggest his side can bounce back.

"I feel a lot better about our performance even though we didn't get the points, and these games are all about points," he said. "As a manager you look at your players and think you have worked on certain things and then in the game maybe they don't do what you worked on and what you asked.

"I felt a bit like that against Bosnia but I can't complain about this performance, everything we asked and wanted them to do they attempted it and we have to do this in the next game.

"It is not going to be easy, it was never going to be easy going to Serbia. But we can't sit here talking about all the players we have missing, that we have lost to Belgium and had a man sent off."

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