Davies defends under-fire Wales boss Giggs from ‘nitpicking’ critics

Davies defends under-fire Wales boss Giggs from ‘nitpicking’ critics

Ben Davies insists the criticism of Wales manager Ryan Giggs after hurtful back-to-back Euro 2020 qualifying defeats is unfair.

Wales’ hopes of making the finals next summer were dealt a severe setback with losses to Croatia and Hungary in the space of four days.

Giggs’ side now trail Group E leaders Hungary by six points, albeit with a game in hand, and are three adrift of Slovakia and Croatia in the race for a top-two spot.

Hungary v Wales – UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying – Group E – Groupama Arena
Ryan Giggs is under pressure after successive defeats dropped Wales to fourth place in their Euro 2020 qualifying group (Joe Giddens/PA)

The Old Trafford great has had to shoulder the blame from most Welsh fans puzzled by the fact he has not profited from the attacking talents of Gareth Bale, David Brooks and new Manchester United winger Daniel James.

“I don’t think that’s fair,” Tottenham defender Davies said of the criticism aimed at Giggs after the 1-0 defeat to Hungary in Budapest.

“He’s brought a lot of young players in and we are all accountable for it.

“We have to stick together, it’s not a time to be nitpicking and pointing fingers.

“I just didn’t think it was a very good performance from us (against Hungary), we didn’t play the way we can.”

Giggs has been in charge for 17 months and won five, drawn one and lost seven of his 13 games.

In contrast, previous manager Chris Coleman, hailed as a national hero for guiding Wales to the semi-finals of Euro 2016, made a worse start by winning only four of his first 13 games.

“If there’s one thing about this squad I know, it’s that we won’t just accept the position we’re in,” said Reading defender Chris Gunter, who won his 95th cap in Budapest.

“We need to get points quite quickly but we still have an opportunity to do so.

“In the last campaign (2018 World Cup qualifying) we had to put a run of results together and we almost did it.

“I think we’ll come back refreshed after the summer and do better.”

Wales return to action in September at home to an Azerbaijan side propping up the group without a point.

Chris Gunter applauds fans after the game
Chris Gunter applauds fans after the game (Joe Giddens/PA)

The September games will mark the halfway stage of the group and provide a clearer picture of what Wales will require in the October and November double-headers to qualify.

“You always want to be better off points-wise, but it’s still early,” Gunter said.

“There was talk before Hungary of must-win and things like that.

“We haven’t won, but as far as I’m concerned we’re not out of the group.

“We’ve still got Hungary to play at home and got a game in hand on them, so we know that we’ve got some really big games ahead of us.”