Istria Cup: Wales win reward for hard work, says Jayne Ludlow

Jayne Ludlow
Jayne Ludlow scored 19 goals in 61 appearances for Wale

Wales boss Jayne Ludlow says her side's 1-0 victory over Costa Rica is just reward for their hard work during the Istria Cup tournament.

Kylie Davies's second-half goal secured Ludlow's first win since she succeeded Jarmo Matikainen as national manager.

Wales, who are preparing for Euro 2017 qualifying, face Croatia on Wednesday in a play-off for fifth place.

"The effort they've put in so far has been fantastic," said Ludlow. "It's been a really good camp."

The former Wales midfielder said the tournament had been a "great opportunity" to have her players together for an extended period of time and "get a team atmosphere going".

She added: "It's not very often as a female team we get those opportunities.

"The build-up process has started and we are trying to get two or three players to understand their roles in each position and that means giving players game time."

Jess Fishlock
Jess Fishlock joined National Women's Soccer League side Seattle Reign in 2013

Wales were beaten 1-0 by France B and held to a goalless draw by Bosnia and Hercegovina before their win over World Cup finalists Costa Rica.

After facing Croatia, their next match will be a friendly against Australia and April's double header against Slovakia in Bangor.

Ludlow did not include Jess Fishlock in her squad, a decision which "surprised and disappointed" the Seattle Reign player.

But the Wales manager insisted Fishlock, who was replaced as captain by Sophie Ingle, will be involved again "in the near future".

"When I first took over we had a long conversation about plans for Jess," Ludlow added.

"There will be certain times where I don't include her in certain fixtures because I do want to see other players.

"She's very much a Wales senior player still and the squad understand the situation, so that's really all that matters."