Rob Page says Wales have no play-off talk, with their full focus on beating Turkey and automatically qualifying for Euro 2024.
Wales must beat Turkey in their final qualifier on Tuesday and hope Croatia don’t beat Armenia to secure top spot in Group D.
The Dragons are guaranteed a play-off place in March, but Wales are reluctant to go down that route. Page and Ian Mitchell, head of game psychology, discuss the topic with players ahead of a sold-out match at Cardiff City Stadium.
Page said: “We’re not talking about the playoffs. If we’re talking about the playoffs, we might cancel Tuesday’s game. This is our mentality and attitude.
“We are completely focused on our job and don’t want to have any regrets when the final whistle blows.
“We knew (the playoffs) would be a topic of conversation because of the disappointment with the Armenia game.
“I talked about it in a meeting with the players and asked Mitch to talk about it too.
“We don’t admit defeat and think, ‘Why not?’ because we could potentially qualify if another result goes in our favor.
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“What I don’t want is to leave at the end of the game, the result is already in our control and we could take responsibility for it.”
Wales had automatic qualification in hand ahead of Saturday’s 1-1 draw in Armenia, when Page’s side may have been lucky to return home with a point.
Croatia took advantage with a 2-0 win in Latvia to move into second place behind already-qualified Turkey.
Page suggested he would be kept up to date with Croatia’s match in Zagreb on Tuesday as Wales try to recover from a disappointing weekend performance.
Luton defender Tom Lockyer is expected to replace the suspended Chris Mepham and make his first competitive appearance since September 2021.
Brennan Johnson and Daniel James could also return to bolster the attack against opponents who beat Wales 2-0 in June and warmed up for the trip to Cardiff by beating Germany 3-2 in a friendly in Berlin on Saturday.
Page said: “We need energy from minute one.
“Given (Turkey’s) result against Germany and the threat they pose, we need energy in this team.
“For the first time in a long time, we played two competitive games in a row.
“We are unlucky with a lot of players who don’t play too much domestically.
“There could potentially be a change, or at least coming off the bench and making an impact.”
Wales are seeking their fourth major tournament out of five and qualify for the final two – Euro 2020 and the 2022 World Cup – on an emotional night at Cardiff City Stadium.
Skipper Ben Davies said: “We’ve put on some amazing performances in Cardiff over the years and had some special nights there.
“We are not panicking as a group, we still have a chance. Our task is quite simple: we need to win the game.
“Playing in major tournaments for your country is the pinnacle and that dream is still alive.”