Coleman disappointed but praises passion

Blackpool Citizen: Chris Coleman rued Wales' defensive errors as the were beaten by Croatia Chris Coleman rued Wales' defensive errors as the were beaten by Croatia

Wales manager Chris Coleman praised his team for the "heart" they showed in their 2-0 defeat to Croatia - but expressed his frustration at the defensive error they made which led to the first goal.

The Dragons had done well to keep their opponents at bay in the World Cup qualifier in Osijek until Ashley Williams under-hit a back-pass which goalkeeper Lewis Price could only strike against Mario Mandzukic, who duly tucked the ball home. Eduardo then wrapped up a well-deserved win for Croatia with a close-range finish in the 58th minute.

It was a third defeat for Wales from their opening four Group A fixtures as they failed to build on Friday's 2-1 victory over Scotland, and reflecting on the latest loss, Coleman said: "I feel a lot better tonight than I did after the Serbia game (a 6-1 defeat). I thought our boys stuck at it and showed a lot of heart."

He added: "They played with a lot of passion, and they had to just to stay in the game.

"But we make one mistake at the moment defensively and we get punished.

"You don't expect that from an experienced player like Ashley, who is a quality defender.

"We know that end of the pitch is difficult, and obviously Pricey comes out, kicks it and it rebounds off the striker.

"We have to cut that out to give ourselves a chance. As hard as we fought, we have to cut out individual errors like that."

Williams' back-pass did appear to be slowed down by the poor playing surface, but Coleman was not about to blame the pitch for what happened.

"The conditions were difficult, but I wouldn't put the defeat down to that," he said.

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