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Euro 2016

Wales have lost 'soft' edge, says Coleman

3:33 PM GMT+4 14/10/2014
Chris Coleman | Wales National Team
The former Fulham boss hailed his players' mental strength following their Euro 2016 qualifying win over Cyprus but admitted he feared the worst after Andy King's red card

Wales coach Chris Coleman hailed his side's growing maturity as they held off Cyprus with 10 men for a crucial win in their Euro 2016 qualifier on Monday.

The hosts looked in danger of letting their two-goal lead slip, when midfielder Andy King was sent off early in the second half after Cyprus had hit back before the break to make it 2-1.

But Coleman's men showed plenty of grit to secure a valuable three points that sends them top of Group B.

And after picking up four points in as many days - Wales also drew 0-0 with Bosnia-Herzegovina on Friday - Coleman said his players had showed a real improvement in their mental strength.

"We never had that in the last campaign. I thought we were too soft in the last campaign," Coleman told Sky Sports.

"We probably played better football in a lot of games, sometimes it came off for us and we won, but we were too open and gave sloppy goals away - we weren't difficult to beat and when we went behind we couldn't get back.

"We're a different group of people this time.

"The group has really matured. A lot of those that have been around a while have really matured and the younger ones have got belief.

"The togetherness is incredible. If we didn't have that, we wouldn't have won the game tonight."

Coleman admitted he feared the worst when Wales went down to 10 men following King's crude challenge on Constantinos Makridis.

"My heart was jumping out of my chest. When I saw the red card, I thought that's going to kill us," the 44-year-old said.

"We went 2-0 up and were cruising and should have been three or four up really. We got a bit sloppy. I think we thought it was going to be a rout but in these games you have to kill them off.

"We got to half-time and said, 'let's set our stall out and be calm', but with the red card so early on you think it's not going to be your night. But credit to our players.

"We're greedy now, we want the points and we want to get them no matter what we have to do to get them, and we've done that. It was a great three points."

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