Forget the pitch - we just want three points, says Wales ace Joe Allen

CONFIDENT: Wales star Joe Allen during a training session at Cardiff City Stadium

CONFIDENT: Wales star Joe Allen during a training session at Cardiff City Stadium

First published in Wales rugby and football
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LIVERPOOL star Joe Allen admits Wales will have no excuses if they fail to win on Andorra’s artificial pitch next Tuesday.

Less than a week ahead of kick-off, UEFA has finally confirmed that the opening Euro 2016 qualifier will go ahead on the 3G surface at the national stadium in Andorra la Vella.

The pitch at the 3,300 venue in the Pyrenees principality had initially failed an inspection last week, sparking fears the game may have to be moved to Barcelona despite fans already making travel arrangements.

The pitch has now been given the green light, however, and Allen is pleased for the fans that the issue has been settled.

But he insists it was never a distraction for the players ahead of what is a must win match for Chris Coleman’s men.

“No matter what pitch we’re playing on, our focus has got to be on how we perform,” said Allen.

“We’ll be there to take three points and we’ve got to make sure that’s what we do.

“We’ve all played on artificial surfaces and we know what to expect from it so I can’t see it being a major problem.

“It hasn’t affected our preparations; it’s been more of an issue for the fans and their travel arrangements really and we feel for them.

“Hopefully they’ll still be able to get there with no problems because we really value their support.”

Allen says the squad is well aware of the need to hit the ground running in the race for a place at Euro 2016 in France.

“This is a huge tournament for us,” said the 24-year-old.

“In the last campaign we were disappointed with the way we performed.

“Our preparations were spot on but we let ourselves down in lots of ways. We've moved on since then, we're more experienced and hopefully it will go our way.

“It’s obvious but the start is vital. We want three points, no game is easy at this level but we have the belief and confidence get off to a good start.

“The change in qualifying, the amount of teams, has given us a boost,” he added.

“And in the first game we expect to perform and we have the quality to win it.

“The lesson we had from the last campaign was that we gave ourselves too much to do; we were always trying to claw our way back.

“The big thing for us this time will be to get off to a good start and build on that.”

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