Saturday 19 January 2019

'Pressure is all on Wales' says Christie

Cyrus Christie
Cyrus Christie

It was grey skies with a chill in the air over Dublin as the Irish squad upped their preparations yesterday for tomorrow's World Cup qualifier at home to Wales.

Yet it's the Welsh camp who are trying to play it cool ahead of the Group D game, insisting that tomorrow is not a must-win game for the Euro 2016 semi-finalists.

But Ireland defender Cyrus Christie maintains that the burden is is on the Welsh ahead of their visit to Dublin in the race to qualify or the 2018 World Cup finals.

"The pressure is on them, so they're the ones that need to win the points more than us," says Christie.

"Obviously we want those points as well to secure our place, so I think the pressure is on them obviously because they're playing catch up.

"And if we set out to put the pressure on them early and we test them, we'll see how they fare with it.

"They're the ones playing catch up. We've set the standard, and we want to obviously maintain that.

"But the pressure is on them to catch up. If we do win then they're quite far off it and so the pressure's on them, and we won't fear that."

Yet to play in this World Cup campaign, or in the Premier League, all of Christie's club football has been played outside of the top flight in England, though he does recall being around Chris Coleman at Coventry City a decade ago. "I was 15-16 at the time, I trained with him a few times but he probably won't remember me," Christie says.

Anthony Martial is the best player Christie has faced to date but he knows that Gareth Bale poses another sort of challenge.

"He is the full package, look at what he has done and achieved in his career, week in week out and what he can do, he pretty much has it all," says the Derby man, who missed a chunk of this season with an ankle injury.

"There is no real way you can go about stopping him, we will do our best, tackle him hard and see how much he fancies it, a few boys leave on him, go in hard on the tackle and you never know, it could push it our way, but I can't see him being that kind of character.

"But we have to do it for the 90 minutes, we can try and mark him out of the game, but we can't just focus on him, they have plenty of other characters in their team and we can't clue into one player."

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