Robert Page defiant and ‘immensely proud’ of Wales win over Croatia

15 October 2023 0 By Total Football News

Robert Page urges on his Wales players against CroatiaRobert Page succeeded Ryan Giggs as Wales manager in 2020

A defiant Robert Page paid an emotional tribute to his Wales side after they beat Croatia to revive their hopes of qualifying for Euro 2024.

Sunday’s stirring 2-1 win means Wales leapfrog their opponents in second place in Group D with two games left.

Page had been under pressure before the game and had shown his feelings during a pre-match interview when he was asked about speculation regarding his future.

“Actions speak louder than words,” the Wales manager said, close to tears.

“I’m sick and tired of having to keep coming on and talk about my future. Let’s just talk about the lads and the performances they have put in.

“I get emotional because I’m so proud of them and they deserve all the plaudits they are going to get.

“I would say it’s the best performance [of my reign] – I am immensely proud.

“In all aspects… how we defended against an excellent team with one of the best midfields in the world. To a man, we were outstanding.”

Wales’ win over Croatia has transformed their chances of qualifying automatically for Euro 2024.

Having seemed down and out following back-to-back defeats against Armenia and Turkey in June, Wales can now seal their place at next summer’s tournament in Germany by beating the same two opponents in November.

Page’s future had dominated the build-up to the Croatia game, following reports the Football Association of Wales (FAW) was already targeting potential successors.

On Wednesday, FAW chief executive Noel Mooney told BBC Sport Wales that the governing body will not make any “knee-jerk” decisions over Page’s future, but added the team must keep winning games.

Ben Davies, who captained Wales against Croatia in the absence of the injured Aaron Ramsey, described Mooney’s comments as “not helpful”, and the Tottenham defender’s view was echoed by Harry Wilson after the game.

“We’re 100% behind the manager,” Wilson, who scored both Wales goals, told S4C’s Sgorio.

“We know there’s been a lot of noise from the outside and some comments that weren’t helpful for us in our preparation from people we didn’t really expect the comments to come from to be honest.”

Page added: “It was just unnecessary noise coming into it, it’s like we’re having to fight fires.

“Look, I didn’t need any player to come out and speak [to support me]. They have proven tonight that they can deliver a top performance against a very, very good team.

“Since I’ve taken over I’ve seen the respect the players have for me and that they want to play for me. I don’t need to say anything else outside of that. I just need to let the players do their talking on the pitch.”

Asked if he had spoken to Mooney since his interview with the BBC on Wednesday, Page said he had received a text message from the chief executive on the day of the Croatia game.

“I had a text off him wishing good luck for tonight at lunchtime today,” Page said.

“Before that, probably not [spoken] for about five weeks. I just want to focus on games of football. We are two wins away from qualifying for a fourth major tournament [out of five].”