Rob Page: Wales boss accepts fans’ boos after Gibraltar draw

Image source, Getty Images

Comment on the photo, Robert Page was previously in charge of the Wales Under-21 national team

  • author, David Pritchard
  • Role, BBC Sport Wales at Estadio do Algarve, Portugal

Wales coach Rob Page said he understood why fans booed him after Thursday’s embarrassing draw against Gibraltar, but insisted he “will not lose focus on the long-term plan” he has in place for his team.

Some supporters jeered Page and chanted for his sacking after Wales was detained in a match A friendly draw without goals By Gibraltar, ranked 203rd in the world and without a win since 2022.

Page faced criticism after Wales’ defeat at home to Armenia last year and its failure to qualify for the 2024 European Championship, and the reception he received in Portugal after the Gibraltar match was the most hostile he has received so far.

“They have a right to their opinion, of course. I get it, I totally get it,” Page said when asked about being booed.

“I’m a Welsh fan as well as the manager, I’m disappointed. But I have to keep talking about the bigger picture and I’ll probably get criticized for that. It’s the bigger picture and we won’t lose focus on what we’ve done.

The Page’s tenure has been one of huge highs and lows, from the euphoria of qualifying for their first World Cup in 64 years to the disappointment of their poor performance in the same tournament in 2022, then the despair of failing to qualify for Euro 2024.

Wales missed out on competition this summer in agonizing fashion when they lost the final to Poland on penalties in March, but the real damage was done during the regular qualifying campaign.

A 4-2 defeat at home to Armenia 12 months ago put Page under enormous pressure, and this was exacerbated last October when Noel Mooney, chief executive of the Welsh Football Association, publicly stated that the manager needed to keep winning games to stay in the job, comments Which vice-captain Ben Davies later described as “unhelpful”.

Then the page witnessed a noticeable improvement. Other than a penalty shootout defeat to Poland after a scoreless 90 minutes, Wales are unbeaten in their past eight matches.

However, as far as many Wales fans are concerned, there are still doubts about Page and they made their feelings known after Thursday’s dismal performance against Gibraltar.

Asked if the result might have an impact on his job security, Page told BBC Sport Wales: “If you have a business plan and a long-term plan, you can’t be emotional.

“This is a question you should ask the board or the CEO or the president, not me.

“I will not lose focus on the long-term plan we have in place. It is a draw against a Gibraltar team that we are very disappointed with and our focus is on preparing the team and squad for September to win UEFA Nations League matches.

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