Rob Page described the support for his players as “powerful” after Wales returned to Euro 2024 qualifying with a 2-0 win over Latvia.
Captain Aaron Ramsey’s penalty – his 100th career goal – and David Brooks’ delightful stoppage-time goal put Wales within three points of first place and eased the pressure on under-fire manager Page.
Group favorites Croatia’s 1-0 win in Armenia was further good news for Wales, who had just one win in 13 games before arriving in Riga.
Ramsey and others supported Page during the build-up to what many considered to be the defining game of the coach’s tenure.
Page said of the players’ support: “It feels good, it’s incredibly powerful – it’s a huge compliment to me from the players.
“I just told them that even the guys who didn’t play, they all play a role. There are no bad eggs in this locker room.
“Pressure does not exist, it is created by external influence.
“We as a staff have done everything we can to keep this out of the bubble and remain as calm as possible.
“We knew it would be a tough test for us after a tough loss. It wasn’t just about winning, I thought the performance was outstanding.
“We played great for the first 35 minutes of the first half and kept the ball. We scored a goal and then fell back a little bit and we’ll take care of it.”
Wales had plenty of chances to take the game beyond Latvia after Harry Wilson found himself in the box in the 28th minute and Ramsey converted from 12 yards.
But neither came until the sixth minute of stoppage time when Brooks, replacing the injured Ramsey, took Wilson’s pass to score his first goal for Wales since recovering from cancer last year.
Page said: “It’s clear that the pressure came from outside, but we never questioned it within the group.
“We knew we had to respond positively after the disappointment in June (defeats in the Euro 2024 campaign to Armenia and Turkey) and we absolutely did – and then some.
“A great performance against a very, very good (South) Korea team last week, followed by a completely different test against a very physical team who dropped back quite often.
“We needed to win the first contacts and the second balls.