Chris Coleman: Cyprus couldn’t bully Gareth Bale

Chris Coleman: Cyprus couldn’t bully Gareth Bale


Wales boss Chris Coleman said he was confident star man Gareth Bale wouldn’t be bullied when his side faced Cyprus on Thursday night.

The teams met in their European Championship qualifier in Cyprus, 11 months on from the reverse fixture in Cardiff when the visitors employed some some strong-arm tactics to try and stop the Real Madrid forward. They picked up 11 yellow cards on an evening in which Wales won 2-1 to claim three vital points.

Ahead of the game, Coleman, who briefly managed La Liga side Real Sociedad, said he expected Cyprus to go in hard again on Bale, but added the 25-year-old is able to stand up for himself.

“They gave him [Bale] a little bit and Cyprus are going to do what they’ve got to do to get a result,” Coleman told reporters.

And he added: “But Gareth’s a strong boy and he knows how to ride a tackle. He can’t see everyone coming, but if he gets a clump I expect the referee – whether it’s in Wales or in Cyprus – to deal with it accordingly.
“We’re not asking for special treatment, we just want normal treatment. They’ll make it difficult for us again, but why should they make it easy? But we’ll just concentrate on what we want to do.”
In the end, Bale showed his strength and worth to the team by netting the 82nd minute winner to put his country on the brink of qualification – they need one more win from their remaining three games.