HomeSportsFootballColeman: Serbia still haunt me

Coleman: Serbia still haunt me

Coleman: Serbia still haunt me

Last Updated: 09/06/17 11:32pm

Chris Coleman's Wales face Serbia in a World Cup qualifier on Sunday

Chris Coleman's Wales face Serbia in a World Cup qualifier on Sunday

Chris Coleman’s Wales face Serbia in a World Cup qualifier on Sunday

Chris Coleman admits he will never get bad memories of Serbia out of his system no matter what happens in Belgrade on Sunday.

Coleman is a national hero these days and recently picked up an OBE at Buckingham Palace after guiding Wales to the semi-finals of Euro 2016, but admits that a 6-1 defeat away to Serbia in September 2012 was the lowest point of his five-year reign and will never leave him.

Coleman: Serbia still haunt meColeman: Serbia still haunt me

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The Wales manager leads his side in a Group D qualifier in Belgrade this weekend, but admits painful memories of the country already came flooding back when he returned there earlier this year.

“As soon as I got off the plane I felt it,” Coleman said. “It was only a reccie but I had butterflies in my stomach. I thought ‘Here we go again, I remember this place’.

“I can’t say this is another game in the group because it’s not for more than one reason. And one of the reasons is that.

“I suffered there, we suffered there – and it was my fault. That will never leave me.

“I think it would be like that if I went back to Belgrade with my wife for the weekend!”

Wales face another daunting test in the Balkans in attempting to keep their World Cup dream alive with Gareth Bale missing through suspension and James Collins, Neil Taylor, Andy King and Hal Robson-Kanu also absent.

Coleman: Serbia still haunt me

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Coleman’s side are unbeaten in World Cup qualifying but trail Serbia and the Republic of Ireland, the top two in Group D, by four points at the halfway stage after four straight draws.

More than 40,000 are expected to greet Wales at the Rajko Mitic Stadium and the hostility levels are expected to be turned up to maximum.

“You go to these places and it’s almost like a stage in the game where there’s a power play,” Coleman said.

“All of a sudden, from wherever it comes, the crowd start getting really rowdy. The opposition up the tempo for five or 10 minutes and they bombard you. You stand up to it or you duck it. There’s no third option.

“This will come in Belgrade and you need to answer those questions, physically, mentally and tactically.”

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