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By ESPN Staff
Mar 26, 2011

Ramsey: We paid price for poor start

Wales captain Aaron Ramsey admitted that his side had been unable to recover from an awful start in their Euro 2012 qualifier against England, which Gary Speed's side eventually lost 2-0.

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An early Frank Lampard penalty, after a foul by James Collins on Ashley Young, and a strike from Darren Bent decided the game within the opening 15 minutes.

Wales improved after the break but rarely threatened to pull a goal back as England dominated.

"We gave away two early goals and never recovered, we had a slow start. It left us too big a mountain to climb," said Ramsey, who led his country for the first time.

"We showed glimpses of what we are capable of doing, but the pitch was quite dry and we could not get enough pace in our attacks but that's no excuse, we had a slow start and it cost us.''

But the Arsenal man believes that there is plenty for Wales to take forward, particularly from their improved second-half display.

"It was a great occasion (to lead the side for the first time) although the result has put a downer on it, but we will bounce back from this. This is a stepping stone and we will continue to progress and hopefully we can become a successful side.''

New Wales boss Gary Speed urged his country's supporters to stand by the team and managed to dig out some positives from the performance.

"I hope the fans stick with the side,'' he said. "We didn't give them too much to shout about today. The way things went in the first five minutes, it was very difficult against a top-quality team. But we are not always going to play England.

"Hopefully the fans can see that and when they come back next time they can shout us on again.''

Speed is aware that he is on a fairly steep learning curve, but he felt there were enough battling qualities on show to be reasonably optimistic about the future.

"We are not going to qualify from this group,'' he said. "Even if we had won this game we probably wouldn't have qualified. But by the time the World Cup campaign starts in August 2012, we want to be in a place then when we can compete in a qualifying group."

Meanwhile, England manager Fabio Capello was pleased to see his switch to a 4-3-3 formation work.

"We played really well, we passed the ball quickly and created chances to score goals with no chances for Wales,'' he said. "The goals that we scored were really nice and in every moment we were focused on the game which was important.

"I decided after watching games Wales have played for Scott Parker and two midfielders. I decided for a new position for Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young.

"When we are defending they stay wide, when we have the ball Wayne comes in and it was a problem for Wales.

"This formation is really good because some players like Ashley Young are improving a lot.''

England midfielder Frank Lampard, who was rumoured to be for the axe before Capello switched to a three man midfield, said: "We did the damage early on and made what could have been a very difficult game quite a comfortable game.

"It was a bit more difficult in the second half, they had a bit of a go, but from being 2-0 up it was always going to be us that won it.

"These games are big derbies, some of us played in one a few years back.

"It was a tough day all round and the only way to make that more comfortable was to start well and take the momentum out of them.

"We certainly did that. We pressed hard, won the ball back and dominated that first half. That's what won it for us.

"Everyone expected us to come here and roll over Wales but it was a derby, with that atmosphere, everyone here knows it's not easy. We did a very professional job.''

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