Wales expectations rising, says manager Gary Speed

Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey celebrate against Montenegro
Wales celebrated their first competitive win in five games by beating Montenegro

Manager Gary Speed says Wales' next games will bring a different kind of pressure after the impressive displays against England and Montenegro.

Wales went into those two Euro 2012 qualifiers having dropped to their lowest position in the Fifa rankings at 117th in the world.

But Speed says the win over Montenegro and a narrow away defeat by England has changed people's perceptions.

"There's an expectation to win that the players have to deal with," he said.

Next up for Wales are games at home to Switzerland on 7 October and a trip to Sofia to play Bulgaria four days later.

The Swiss are still in the hunt to qualify for the finals in Poland and Ukraine, knowing that a win in Swansea and victory over Montenegro in the final match will secure second place in the group and a place in the play-offs.

Wales, bottom of the group with three points from six games, have long given up on qualification but third place is still within their grasp.

"We've got to be seen to be progressing," stressed Speed.

"Some people in Wales would expect us to go out and beat Switzerland.

"It's certainly going to be tough but as long as we keep that progression going, that's the important thing.

"We played well against Montenegro and it will be tough to mirror that against a good Switzerland team. They are good, make no bones about it.

"So it will be a difficult game, but we are at home in Swansea and hopefully we can get a good result."

Bulgaria's sole win in the group came against Wales in Cardiff.

That was Wales' first game since the sacking of John Toshack as manager following a 1-0 defeat in Montenegro, with Brian Flynn in charge on a temporary basis.

The roles will be reversed in Sofia, though, after Bulgaria sacked Lothar Matthäus, promoting under-21 coach Mihail Madanski for their final match in the group.

"You never want to play a team that has just sacked their manager," said Speed.

"I was a little bit surprised by it [the sacking of Matthäus] but the last two performances weren't great against England and Switzerland.

"That probably put the final nail in his coffin.

"We were obviously going to go over to Bulgaria looking for a win - it's a tough place to go but we would fancy our chances over there.

"But now with a new coach coming in it does change things. It gets players on their toes.

"It makes it more difficult for us but that's international football and that's what we've got to deal with."

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