Wales 2-3 Netherlands: Chris Coleman pleased by youngsters

By Dafydd PritchardBBC Wales Sport at Cardiff City Stadium
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Wales manager Chris Coleman was encouraged by his makeshift side's display despite a 3-2 defeat by the Netherlands in a friendly in Cardiff.

Without key players, such as Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, Wales twice found equalisers against the Dutch.

Despite the result, Coleman believes it was useful preparation for Euro 2016.

"We always want to win, we wanted a result and we didn't get that but we got a lot of other things out of the game," Coleman said.

"We were competitive. We used our full number of six substitutes and were still competitive. Overall I'm not too disappointed.

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"We scored two goals without Bale and Ramsey, which is a big thing when you look at who was getting the goals for us in the qualification campaign."

Joe Ledley's first-half goal was the first scored by a Welshman other than Bale or Ramsey since 13 October 2014.

Emyr Huws celebrates his goal against the Netherlands
Emyr Huws (centre) celebrates his goal with Adam Henley and Tom Lawrence

Their absence paved the way for Tom Lawrence's first Wales start, and Coleman said he was "delighted" with the 21-year-old Leicester City forward's performance.

Emyr Huws, 22, also caught the eye with the second goal that brought Wales level at 2-2 with 20 minutes remaining.

Defensive 'frailties'

The Wales manager was, however, concerned by his team's defensive performance against Netherlands, who have failed to qualify for Euro 2016.

Captain and centre-back Ashley Williams was replaced by James Collins at half-time and the defence looked weaker without him.

Goal highlights: Joe Ledley brings Wales level against Dutch

Wales' concession of three goals against Netherlands was in stark contrast to their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, in which they conceded only four goals in 10 games.

"We saw in patches glimpses of frailty which we did not see in the campaign, where we were rock solid. We never had weakness as a defensive unit," Coleman said.

"We were a little bit open and they have [Arjen] Robben, who could open up any defence in that form.

"We are hard to beat first and foremost. We have world beaters who can win a game but we have to do the ugly business, which we have done well.

"We can play good football and create but have to defend for our lives in every defensive situation or we do not get the result."

Unbeaten home record gone

Wales learnt a lot despite Dutch defeat - Ashley Williams

The defeat ended an eight-game unbeaten home record that stretched back to September 2013.

It was also a second defeat in three games, having lost to Bosnia-Herzegovina in the penultimate game in the Euro 2016 qualifiers.

"It's not nice to lose, especially at home but I think it was a worthwhile game," Williams added.

"I don't think we deserved to lose although we didn't have much of the ball. I still think we performed well and it was a worthwhile exercise.

"Before the game I said it was important we kept our momentum going. That's not just in the result but also the manner of our play and performance.

"I think we did that. It was a very difficult game. Obviously we had a few players out as well so the gaffer got a chance to look at some of the other guys."

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