by Richard Early
RYAN Giggs believed that experience was the difference as his Wales side lost 2-1 to Denmark in their final UEFA Nations League fixture.
Gareth Bale’s 89th-minute strike reduced the goal deficit to one and gave the hosts hope of salvaging a late draw, although the Danes were resilient for the remainder and took all three points to top the group.
“Overall, it was experience and they were better at managing both games and of course they’ve got quality – they’ve shown that over a long period of time,” said Giggs.
“We need to get to that level of consistency because they’re a team that don’t get beat very often and find a way to get over the line and win.”
The Wales manager has been in charge a year and conceded that the defeat was difficult: “I was disappointed obviously – you always are when you lose,” said Giggs.
“I’m proud of the players and proud of the performances that they put on in the two games against a very good team. We’ll learn from it – you’ve seen tonight that Denmark are experienced, disciplined, efficient and get the job done.
“In both games we were more than a match for them, but they just had a little bit of luck and quality at the end – we could’ve come out on top in both games and unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. The players are disappointed, but I told them that they should be proud of themselves – we’ll definitely learn from this game.
“All the experience that these young players have had in these games, will stand them in good stead going into the Euros and competition for places is what we wanted – that’s what we’ve got.
“When you see the likes of Ethan Ampadu come on and put on a performance like that and David Brooks – these are players that excite the fans and excite me. I hate losing, but there were parts of that, that I really enjoyed.
“We could have won our league quite easily, with there not being a lot between us and Denmark.
The 44-year-old went on to reveal his view on Ethan Ampadu being clattered by Jens Stryger Larsen, before reflecting on the campaign and looking ahead to Tuesday’s Albania trip.
“I thought it was a cheap shot, because you’ve got a lad who’s just turned 18 and broke his leg when he was 17 – he plays the ball and it’s a late tackle. I realise that it’s a competitive game and there’s going to be tackles – it’s part of the game and I like that. Although, for a young lad who’s been badly injured recently – it was a cheap shot – that’s why reacted and I was proud of the players’ reaction to protect a young player, because that’s how it should be.
“Overall in the campaign, there’s been lots of pluses and lots of things that we can learn from and do better. It’s about picking your moments because you won’t score every time you attack.
“You’ve got to be patient sometimes on the edge of the box and have got to know when you can push in a game and give cheap fouls away. These are things that we can learn and what Denmark do very well – it all comes from experience and they’re an experienced side.
“I’ve enjoyed the wins more than the losses, but overall, I’ve enjoyed it and I’m still finding things out about the players. I keep going on about the young players, but I’m still finding things out about the more experienced players as well.
“I’m proud to be in this job and we’ve got a talented bunch of players, who are committed and they’ll learn from tonight’s experience and the campaign overall. Come the Euros, we’ll be better for it.”
He concluded: “For Albania, it’s a little bit of juggling and seeing how the players are over the next couple of days. We had a couple of injuries tonight, so you’d think that they won’t make it for Tuesday and there’s also players who need a game, that I haven’t seen a lot of, who have been doing well for their clubs.
“We’ll have to get ready for a tough game, as it always is away from home and hopefully get back on that winning track.”