Speed calls for fans' support

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Football News

New Wales boss Gary Speed has urged his country's supporters to stand by their men after Saturday's 2-0 Euro 2012 qualifying defeat to England at the Millennium Stadium.

An exceptional atmosphere was punctured within 15 minutes as Frank Lampard and Darren Bent scored the goals that allowed England to coast home. Yet Speed still managed to dig out some positives from the performance, and he is hoping the Welsh fans saw them as well.

"I hope the fans stick with the side," he said. "We didn't give them too much to shout about. The way things went in the first five minutes, it was very difficult against a top-quality team. But we are not always going to play England."

He added: "Hopefully the fans can see that and when they come back next time they can shout us on again."

Speed is aware that he is on a fairly steep learning curve, but he felt there were enough battling qualities on show to be reasonably optimistic about the future.

"We are not going to qualify from this group," he said. "Even if we had won this game we probably wouldn't have qualified. But by the time the World Cup campaign starts in August 2012, we want to be in a place then when we can compete in a qualifying group.

"To lose a goal in the first five minutes was tough to take and we struggled to deal with it for the next 30 minutes. But we were mentally strong enough to keep trying to play. We have learned from this and it will benefit in the future."

Speed felt England got a "soft" penalty when Ashley Young went down under James Collins' tackle, although he also admitted he had no complaints about the decision.

Neither was he critical of rookie skipper Aaron Ramsey, who appeared to be trying too hard to impress in direct competition with Arsenal team-mate Jack Wilshere.

"I don't think that was the case," said Speed. "Maybe he was a bit frustrated in the first half because England played really well and didn't let us have the ball."

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Gary Speed
Aaron Ramsey
Premier League
Ashley Young
James Collins
Jack Wilshere
Darren Bent

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