Robert Page 'proud' of Wales response to criticism with win in Latvia

Wales manager Robert Page is "proud" of the way his players responded to criticism after they beat Latvia to earn only a second win in 14 matches.

Page had been under severe pressure before Monday's 2-0 Euro 2024 qualifying victory in Riga.

Wales remain fourth in Group D but still have a chance, albeit slim, of qualifying automatically.

"The pressure came from the outside, understandably, but we never questioned it within the group," said Page.

Wales faced significant criticism after defeats by Armenia and Turkey in June damaged their qualification chances.

"We knew we had to give a positive reaction after the disappointment of June and we absolutely have - and some," Page said.

"I'm extremely proud of the players. I think the camp has been outstanding. I've got a group of players in there who enjoy playing football for me.

"It feels good, it feels powerful, absolutely - that's a massive compliment to myself from the players. I've just said to them: even the lads that have not played, they all play a part. There are no bad eggs in that changing room.

"Pressure doesn't exist, it is what created from outside influence."

Page's future has been the subject of intense scrutiny and, although victory over Latvia eased some of that pressure, his position will still be reviewed according to senior figures at the Football Association of Wales.

The former Northampton Town and Port Vale boss was a national hero last year when he became the first man to lead Wales to a World Cup since 1958.

However, after beating Ukraine in their World Cup play-off final in June 2022, Wales managed only one win in their next 13 games, a 1-0 home victory over Latvia in March.

That run of poor form prompted strong criticism from pundits and fans, many of whom have been calling for Page to be sacked.

"I don't get bogged down with all that. That's noise that I don't need. I know I am doing all right, when I look in the mirror," said Page.

"I've got a group of lads who enjoy working for me.

"I get that we've got to win games of football, of course we have. There's no point playing nice football and coming away from camp without any points.

"We have got to be ruthless, but there are a group of winners in that changing room playing for me. I've got a tremendous staff and we can't wait for the next camp."

Wales return to action with a friendly against Gibraltar in Wrexham on 11 October before resuming their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign four days later when they host Croatia at Cardiff City Stadium.

Page's side remain fourth in Group D, but they are level on points with Armenia in third and three behind leaders Croatia and second-placed Turkey.

"We have put ourselves right back in there," said Page.

"Three points to second place - it's in our hands. Other teams will play their part, but we had to win our game tonight."