Coleman and Kozak speak ahead of Wales - Slovakia

Wales and Slovakia kick off their Euro 2016 campaigns on Saturday afternoon in Matmut Atlantique.

Coleman and Kozak speak ahead of Wales - Slovakia
Chris Coleman was like a youngster on Christmas Eve at the pre-match press conference (photo: Panoramic)

Wales head coach Chris Coleman was in a positive mood, whilst the man who will take his place in the adjacent dugout on Saturday afternoon, Jan Kozak, looked to keep his nation's feet firmly on the ground, as Slovakia prepare to take on the Welsh in their first game of Euro 2016.

Coleman admits to excitement

With Wales taking part in their first major tournament since 1958, the excitement surrounding the small nation neighbouring England seems to be translating into the Welsh training camp. Former Wales defender Coleman admitted he was "super excited and very much looking to the match" when speaking to reporters at the pre-match press conference. 

Coleman kept reiterating how well his players had done to reach the finals, claiming "we are delighted to be here" and "this is what we always wanted". The first man to lead Wales in a European Championship was keen to express how he would like his determined squad to continue their good form from the qualification campaign. Coleman expressed how their "core values must remain the same" and how a win would give Wales a "huge boost".

"England are favourites for group" says Kozak

Slovakia head coach Jan Kozak was in a slightly more grounded mood, claiming he is "not too old to be nervous about a game". Kozak explained that "England are favourites but the other three teams have equal chance [of qualifying]".

Jan Kozak believes qualification from Group B is wide open (photo: Getty Images)
Jan Kozak believes qualification from Group B is wide open (photo: Getty Images)

A major talking point building up to the match this week has been the quality of Real Madrid and Wales attacking midfielder Gareth Bale. Several Slovakian players, including captain Martin Skrtel, had pointed out earlier in the week that they will have to keep a watchful eye on Bale, whilst Kozak admitted "I respect him". Yet, as Skrtel also mentioned earlier in the week, Kozak added "Wales have other quality players and Bale cannot be a great threat without the other players supporting him".

Neither managers gave much away in terms of team selection, though Kozak suggested he "will see after training if Thomas Hubocan is ready" when questioned about his fitness levels. Meanwhile Chris Coleman hinted that Joe Ledley "is ready to play some part tomorrow" after a remarkable return to fitness from a leg break.