Ben Davies: 'Ireland play direct and put you under pressure constantly'

Mon, Oct 15 2018

Davies in action for Wales during the scoreless draw between the sides in Dublin last March. Credit: Larry McQuillan

Macdara Ferris reports from the Aviva Stadium

Following Saturday's scoreless draw at the Aviva Stadium, Denmark’s Thomas Delaney described the Republic of Ireland’s play as primitive.

Welsh defender Ben Davies wasn’t quite as dismissive, but he does expect Ireland to play 'direct' and put his team 'under pressure.'

“It is a tough game to come here,” Davies said to the media in the Aviva Stadium on the eve of the game.

“Ireland play direct and put you under pressure constantly.

“It is about getting results at the end of the day and if that’s the way they think it is best to do that, that can’t be knocked.

“We have to put a good performance in. We are expecting Ireland to come out all guns blazing because they want to do well in this mini group.

“For us, we know the quality and challenges they are going to cause us and we have to be ready for that.”

While Ireland were playing out a scoreless stalemate over the weekend in the UEFA Nations League game against Denmark, Wales were warming up for the game in Dublin with a friendly against Spain.

However they suffered a heavy 4-1 defeat in Cardiff which can’t have helped their confidence.

“Thursday wasn’t a great performance from us,” continued the Spurs defender.

“We were up against a world class team, probably one of the best in the world and they really showed us how to play football.

“Even though it was a loss, there was a lot that we can learn from that game and if we can take the things that we didn’t do so well in that game and realise that tomorrow night, then that is all the better for us.”

Ireland will hardly offer the same challenge as the Spanish. Martin O’Neill’s men had only 36% possession against Denmark, completing 225 passes with a 72% accuracy.

 

Spain earned their 4-1 win off 68% possession and 92% accuracy from their 766 passes.

“We played a back three against Spain and they made it incredibly difficult. They moved the ball quicker than us.

“They didn’t run much – it was all two touch football. That is what we have to do tomorrow.

“Ireland played a back three in their last game and if they do that again, we have to learn from the way Spain played against us.”

Having finished third in their qualifying group for the FIFA 2018 World Cup behind Ireland, Wales are looking to take inspiration from their previous EURO 2016 campaign.

They conceded only four goals in qualifying and of course made it all the way to the semi-final in France.

“We prided ourselves (on our defence) going into that tournament. I think we need to get back to that.

“Sometimes the more success you have in football, you play a bit more open, take a few more risks and we need to get back to that solid team.”

If Wales can leave Dublin with a win, they will top group 4. However, a defeat will see them bottom of the group.

“Winning tomorrow will put us in a great position. If we could get a result, then it is all in our hands going into the next game against Denmark.

“They way we are looking at it, we are looking to get three points.”

Wales will have to do without some key players as they seek their first win in Dublin since 1992.

Gareth Bale, Chris Mepham, Ethan Ampadu, Joe Ledley and Tom Lockyer are all injured, while Aaron Ramsey misses out for family reasons.

“As a squad these are the games we have to adapt and really show what we are about,” said Davies.

“We have to believe in ourselves and the quality that we have coming in. With a lot of the young talent it is a good opportunity for them to show what they can do.”