Gary Speed shows sympathy for sacked Dave Jones

Gary Speed
Wales boss Gary Speed has just started his managerial career

Wales boss Gary Speed believes Dave Jones was harshly treated by Cardiff City, who sacked him after six years at the helm.

Jones had his contract terminated by the Bluebirds after failing to take them up to the Premier League after two successive play-off failures.

But Speed insists Jones's record at Cardiff is second to none.

"Dave has managed to keep them up there on a consistent basis so he's very unfortunate," said Speed.

Jones led Cardiff to the FA Cup Final in 2008, where they lost to Portsmouth, and under his guidance they also reached the final of the Championship play-offs last season.

They lost 3-2 against Blackpool in the May 2010 final, but looked likely to better that this season as the Bluebirds occupied second place - and an automatic promotion spot - for much of the season.

But a 3-0 home loss to Middlesbrough allowed Norwich City to overhaul them and Cardiff had to again settle for a place in the play-offs.

A goalless semi-final first-leg away to Reading put the Bluebirds in a strong position to progress, but Jones's side capitulated in the second leg, losing 0-3.

"Dave's a great guy - I've spoken to him a lot over the last six months," revealed Speed.

"It's unfortunate because after going so close on a couple of occasions like he has and to bring them back again to challenge he has done a fantastic job.

"And Cardiff have got more points this year than they have ever had. It does take a good manger to keep bringing them back.

"Because teams lose in the play-off finals generally the next season they go down or go further down the league."

But while being disappointed about Cardiff's failure Speed is delighted to see their rivals, Swansea City, in the top flight after their 4-2 Championship play-off final victory over reading at Wembley on Monday.

"It's brilliant," said Speed, who celebrated his first win as Wales manager last week with a 2-0 friendly defeat of Northern Ireland. "It's great that Swansea are in the Premier League - the first Welsh team there.

"We have got about four or five lads there… that could figure in our [Wales] team. It's great they are playing at a higher level and great for Welsh football as a whole.

"It benefits us that players are playing at the highest level possible.

"Obviously we had Gareth [Bale] in the Champions League and if Ash [Williams], Joe [Allen] and Neil Taylor play in the Premiership every week - I think they are good enough to play there any way - it's great it's with Swansea."