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Matty Jones: Pressure on Wales U21s for first time in ‘must-win’ Lithuania game

21 Mar 2024 2 minute read
Wales U21s coach Matty Jones. Photo FAW

Matty Jones has warned his Wales Under-21 side the pressure is on them for the first time in European Championship qualifying.

Wales host Lithuania on Friday knowing victory will take them three points clear of Denmark at the top of Group I in the race to make next year’s finals in Slovakia.


“A year ago when the draw was done in Geneva I don’t think there was any expectation on the group or myself,” Wales U21 manager Jones said ahead of the Newport clash.

“The focus was about supporting and transitioning the players from the Under-21 age group and filtering them through in to the first-team squad.

“But qualifying is realistic now as our results have put us in a real good position.

“It’s the first time in the campaign where we feel the onus and pressure is on us to perform and get a result.”

Late comeback

Lithuania are without a point after three games but almost punished Wales with a dramatic late comeback in Jonava last September.

Jones said: “We had a 3-0 lead in the game and in the last five minutes we conceded two.

“It was a huge lesson for myself and we can’t revisit those experiences.

“They are a fantastic counter-attacking team with some really dangerous individuals and that complacency will be addressed.

“My message to the players is that this is a must-win game. If want to qualify for tournaments these are the games we have to be winning.”

Arsenal defender James Lannin-Sweet and Swansea winger Cameron Congreve have been called up after Cian Ashford, Charlie Crew and Owen Beck withdrew due to injury.

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