It's time for the 'golden generation' to deliver, says boss
WALES manager Chris Coleman has told his players they need to start living up to their "golden generation" billing after being humiliated 6-1 in Serbia.
Wales's World Cup aspirations lie in tatters after an inept display in Novi Sad gifted their hosts the easiest of wins.
It was just Serbia's second victory in 12 games.
Coleman's men are now on a run of five straight defeats and the optimism generated during the latter stages of Gary Speed's reign has vanished.
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Even at this early stage of the Group A campaign it is difficult to see Wales reaching Brazil in 2014.
The current crop of Wales players, including Premier League talents such as Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen, had been rated as having the best chance of reaching a first major finals since 1958.
Such hopes now appear forlorn, but Coleman remains bullish over Wales's chances of getting to Brazil, despite their shambolic performance, and has made it clear to his squad it is time to step up and prove their quality.
"When I came into the job I was told it would take a certain amount of time to get this team to where it needs to be," he said.
"I was told at the start that this is the golden generation, they had just won four out of five games.
"But I am under no illusions, when you perform like that you have to take responsibility as a manager.
"I will be ready for the next game against Scotland next month and I will make sure the players are.
"International management is very different to club management. I don't have 30 or 40 games to be building this or that, the aim is to qualify for Brazil in 2014.
"We are always told we have not done it for so long, and I have been told this is a golden generation, so let's see it then."
Wales now sit at the bottom of Group A, four points adrift of the sides at the top.
But Coleman believes the draws played out between Belgium and Croatia and Scotland and Macedonia, while his side were being thumped in Serbia, at least give Wales some crumbs of comfort.
"We have to look at the bigger picture," he said. "I think we have been given a gift in that the other sides in the group have drawn.
"We cannot say we have got away with it, we cannot hide behind that poor performance, but rather than being six points behind the team at the top of the group, it's just four.
"We can only go one way from the bottom of the group. In sport it is you against them, as a player you battle against your individual opponent and I have my battle against the other manager.
"I haven't always won those battles down the years, but I won't turn this down.
"I have got a big battle on my hands to try to somehow get a result against Scotland after such a poor performance, but I am well up for that challenge.
"We begin again in two weeks.
"We can only go one way and that is forward and that next game cannot come quick enough, it would be a step forward to get to half-time still in the game if you look at the last four games."