Ashley Williams strongly defended his former teammate and "friend" Joe Allen in the wake of Wales defeat against Iran in Group B of the World Cup.
Rob Page's sides chances of making the last 16 now hinge on them beating England on Tuesday night after a 2-0 defeat in Qatar this morning.
Injury time goals from Rouzbeh Cheshmi and Ramin Rezaeian gave Iran only their third ever World Cup victory.
The goals came after Welsh goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey was sent off late on for a wild challenge on striker Mehdi Taremi.
Allen, who had been unable to start today's game and Monday's draw against the USA as he recovered from a hamstring injury, was at fault for both Iran's goals.
It was a gamble for Page to introduce him but he clearly looked off the pace.
The 32-year-old midfielder who returned to his boyhood club Swansea City during the summer replaced Spezia's Ethan Ampadu in the 77th minute.
Allen made a rash clearance to give the ball away to Rouzbeh Cheshmi who finished from outside the box to give Iran the lead and missed a tackle in the build-up to the second goal.
Ashley Williams defends "friend" Joe Allen
Williams defended Allen:
“He did well," the former Wales defender said on BBC.
"Obviously, he was a big miss from the start of the tournament not being able to start these two games.
"That’s nothing against Ethan Ampadu because he played well, there just two different players.
"We lacked someone who was just that bit more patient and sat in the middle of the pitch.
"Iran counter-attacked on us a lot.
"I’m not taking away anything from Ethan Ampadu, I thought he performed well.
"Joe came on, that was a plus I suppose for us, it was nice to see him, my friend, playing in a World Cup."
The comments did not go down well on Twitter, with Ashley Williams being widely criticised.
Gabby Logan: Joe Allen played well
Ashley Williams: Joe Allen coming on was a plus
He was at fault for both goals!?!? 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/ZRhpndZq9N
— 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐜 𝐖𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐚𝐦𝐬 (@ichbinmarc_) November 25, 2022
can't quite believe bbc trying to deflect the fault for both those Iran goals onto Danny Ward: Joe Allen literally assisted the opposition two times in 4 minutes and not a word about it coz Williams is his mate 🤪
— harry (@harrymrmn) November 25, 2022
Some one tell Ashley Williams that Joe Allen gave away the ball for both goals pic.twitter.com/zQZyNvbea4
— Vectra Dj 🇯🇲 (@Djvectra) November 25, 2022
Host Gabby Logan said that Allen was "controlling the game" when he came on.
Strange takes from the BBC after Wales World Cup dreams were seriously dented.