Defiant Coleman defends Bale decision

Despite losing 2-1 away to Macedonia as their slim World Cup qualification hopes crumbled, the coach defends leaving the Real Madrid star on the bench

Wales manager Chris Coleman insists that star man Gareth Bale was not fit enough to play during their 2-1 defeat to Macedonia.

The visitors’ slim hopes of a play-off spot in World Cup qualifier were given a huge blow on Friday when Ivan Trickovski and Aleksandar Trajkovski netted either side of Aaron Ramsey’s penalty, with Bale left on the bench throughout.

The new Real Madrid signing has not played a match since appearing for Tottenham in a pre-season friendly in July and, even though he was named as a part of the matchday squad, an angry Coleman maintained that the 24-year-old was in no shape to make an appearance.

“He is not fit, so we could not use him,” the Wales boss told reporters. “He is not ready. We couldn’t take a chance.

“It was nice to have him with us but you have to reach a certain level before you are considered. If there was any chance he’d have come on the pitch. It would have been ideal in the last 20 minutes but he wasn’t [ready].

Pressed on the matter, Coleman fumed: “What part of he’s not fit are you not listening to? Why bring him on if he’s not fit? You think I would not have used him if he was fit?

“I don’t mind what other people think. What I look at is the opposition. If I’m the opposition manager and Bale is on the bench, maybe it would affect his thinking.

“I haven’t conned the supporters to say he might play. If there was a chance, he would have played, but there wasn’t. We can’t take the risk. “

Coleman also dismissed suggestions that poor preparation played a part in the defeat after growing irritated when asked whether he would apologise for initially forgetting his passport, which delayed his arrival to Skopje.

“To whom [should I apologise]? What are you talking about?” he continued. “What you don’t know is what we do day to day. If you stood around and watched us play you’d see what we do when we go away. It’s next to nothing.

“All the work had been done. You make of it what you want. If we’d won, you wouldn’t make much out of it, but you will because we lost and that’s up to you. We lost a game where we played very well.”

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