Retiring Craig Bellamy backing under-fire bosses
10:02am Monday 14th October 2013 in Wales rugby and football
WALES and Cardiff City star Craig Bellamy is hoping managers Chris Coleman and Malky Mackay stay in place after a turbulent week in Welsh football.
Under-fire national manager Coleman saw his side edge past Macedonia 1-0 in their World Cup qualifier at the Cardiff City Stadium on Friday night.
That eased some of the pressure on him ahead of a daunting trip to conclude the campaign at group winners Belgium on Tuesday night.
That match in Brussels will be Bellamy’s 78th and final cap for his country before he retires from international football to concentrate on keeping his hometown club in the Premier League.
And that is a task that Bellamy clearly feels will be much easier under the stewardship of Mackay.
The future of the man who took the capital side to the Premier League is clouded in uncertainty after his head of recruitment Iain Moody was placed on gardening leave.
But Bellamy is a big fan of the Bluebirds boss.
“I’m a player and I can only talk from a player’s point of view,” he said. “I can’t dictate to anyone above me but the simple fact is that I’m very fortunate to be working with the guy.
“We’re such a tight-knit group now. The discipline he’s brought in to the club; he’s been nothing short of remarkable.
“We needed that,” he added. “No disrespect to the manager here before, because everyone has played their part in the history of this football club, but he took it on to another level.
“He’s united the place and this city. The atmosphere on match days really makes you feel proud and he’s played a big part in that.”
And the 34-year-old is similarly supportive of Wales boss Coleman, who has still yet to sign a new contract.
“I hope so, of course,” he said when asked if he wanted Coleman to remain in charge. “But it’s about the team progressing and it’s out of my hands.
“I’ve got one more game and after that if it’s Cookie who stays on then great.
“The players we do have now we need to start progressing,” he added. “You get what you deserve in a qualifying group over a two-year period, there’s no two ways about that.
“There are no excuses but I do believe that, with the players we have, we really shouldn’t be in that position (bottom of the qualifying group).”
And as he prepares to bow out of the international stage he says Wales can take inspiration from their opponents Belgium.
They qualified for Brazil 2014 with a 2-1 win in Croatia on Friday night – their first international tournament since they co-hosted Euro 2000 with Holland.
“Belgium deserve to qualify,” said Bellamy. “That is what we want to emulate and it’s a great opportunity for us.
“To see a country like ourselves, who have had a lot of talent down the years, get there should be an inspiration to us.”
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