Wales are Carling Cup 'poor relations' says Gary Speed

Wales boss Gary Speed
Speed has lost three matches since he took charge of Wales

Wales boss Gary Speed believes his side have been treated as the "poor relations" of the Carling Nations Cup.

Speed's side lost 3-1 against Scotland and the manager was disappointed with Northern Ireland referee Raymond Crangle's performance.

The Wales boss was unhappy a number of fouls against his players went unpunished.

"We didn't get much protection at all especially in the first half," said Speed.

"There were five or six fouls at least that went unpunished.

"I do feel that we've been treated a bit like the poor relation in this tournament. That went further to rubber stamp that."

Speed had already voiced his disapproval with Wales' schedule in Dublin, with his side playing two games in three days.

"It makes the tournament lose credibility because it's not a level playing field," he told BBC Wales.

"I'm not using it as an excuse but I've just got to get the best out of team. Because of that my priority is the welfare of my players.

"I'm not going to risk any player for a tournament where you have to play two games in three days."

Wales had led 1-0 at the interval at the Aviva Stadium with captain for the night Robert Earnshaw scoring the first goal of Speed's reign.

But Scotland hit back in the second half with goals from James Morrison, Kenny Miller and Christophe Berra securing their first victory over Wales in 27 years.

And although pleased with the performance during the opening 45 minutes, Speed admitted his side have plenty of work to do.

"We played really well first half," said Speed. "We knocked the ball about [with] confidence and created chances. It was what I wanted.

"Scotland are a good team and they were always going to come at us and I don't think we dealt well with that pressure.

"I think we got ragged and lost our shape [and] lost our organisation which we did very well in the first half.

"But we've got to learn that because we're going to play strong nations who are going to put us under pressure."

On Friday night Wales face Northern Ireland, another side without a win following the opening two games and a team who lost 5-0 against the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday.

And despite suffering the third consecutive defeat of his reign, Speed does not believe his side will be under pressure to beat Nigel Worthington's side.

"We are still developing," said the former Leeds, Everton and Newcastle midfielder.

"We're still trying to reach somewhere where we're going to be competitive.

"There's a lot more work to be done so I don't feel under pressure at all.

"Winning is important and if the lads show the effort and commitment that they showed tonight and the quality they showed in the first half , then that's all I can ask for.

"But it's going to be a tough game on Friday against Northern Ireland. They will be hurting from the other night.

"By their nature they're always 100 percent, they always roll their sleeves up. You've got to be able to match that and we'll give it our best shot."

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