Ashley Williams insists qualifying campaign is "not all doom and gloom", targets win in Dublin

The Republic of Ireland's Group D rivals sit four points adrift of Martin O'Neill's men

BY Cian Roche 18:39 Monday 14 November 2016, 18:39 14 Nov 2016

Image: Nick Potts PA Wire/PA Images

Ashley Williams cut a figure of defiance following Wales' disappointing 1-1 draw with Serbia on Saturday night and insists that next year's qualifying games have turned into must-win ties.

The Everton defender watched Gareth Bale hit the post in the last five minutes of the game and only moments later would Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic go up the other end and score the equalising goal to silence the Welsh fans.

Speaking after the result, the Wales skipper admitted there would need to be an improved performance to get a result from a "must-win" game in Dublin.

"It is not all doom and gloom," Williams said. "We have not lost yet, we will take that as a positive. We feel we can beat any side, so while it is still a close group, if we have to win all of our games, we are confident enough we can do that. And the more it goes on, they turn into must-wins.

"It is frustrating to take the lead again and not win and keep a clean sheet. But it is not like the last one [against Georgia] where the second half was bad and we didn’t do what we were supposed to do.

"I feel like we still played well, but in the end you see how close football can be."

Martin O'Neill's side picked up a historic win away to Austria prior to kick-off in Cardiff, a result which sees the Republic of Ireland four points clear of their rivals at this early stage in the campaign. They will now have a series of home games to solidify their claim on the Group D top spot.

"No one is running away with it, but with Ireland winning, we need to get a result over there," said teammate Neil Taylor. "We understand that. We’ve been in that position before. But we back ourselves.

"A draw is a good result if you follow it with a win and that’s what we have to go out and do against Ireland."

Chris Coleman's side visit the Aviva Stadium on March 24 next Spring.

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