Strong Wales start vital in World Cup campaign says Chris Gunter
Defender Chris Gunter says a good start will be vital if Wales are to have any chance of success in their World Cup qualifying campaign.
Wales ended their Euro 2012 campaign with a 1-0 win in Bulgaria, their third win in four games to finish fourth.
Gary Speed's side will face Croatia, Serbia, Belgium, Scotland and Macedonia in the 2014 World Cup campaign, which begins next September.
"We need to make sure that we start the group well next year," said Gunter.
"We need to make sure at the start of a group we get really good results and keep ourselves in there.
"Too many times we have been out of a group in the middle and find ourselves playing games just for pride."
Wales completed their first back-to-back competitive wins since 2005 with victory in Sofia, the first qualifying away win under Gary Speed.
"It's nice to win two games in a row," said Gunter. "I can't remember the last time we came to a place like this and won.
"It's a good way to end the group and the last few months has been really good for us.
"As much as we say we're building, you have to be building with positive things and I think we're starting to see the start of that.
"At the end of the day you have produce results and performances and we've done that in the last couple of games.
"We can always get better. The squad can get much better and there are players to come back.
"But I thought the players that have played over the last two games have done really well.
"You see Joe Allen playing like that and Crofty [Andrew Crofts]. It can only be good for the squad."
Gunter also paid tribute to the Welsh fans who have supported the side during the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.
Wales's travelling support outnumbered home fans in a crowd of around 1,000 in the Vasil Levsky Stadium with Bulgarians boycotting the match in protest over the state of the national side.
"The atmosphere they create for us is fantastic," added the former Tottenham and Cardiff City player. "We really appreciate their support."