Ryan Giggs: Wales a work in progress, says manager after loss to Denmark

By Dafydd PritchardBBC Sport Wales in Aarhus
Ryan Giggs gives Gareth Bale instructions
Ryan Giggs was in charge of his second competitive Wales game; Gareth Bale could not add to his record total of 30 goals for the national team

Wales are a work in progress and will learn from their Nations League loss in Denmark, says manager Ryan Giggs.

Two Christian Eriksen goals consigned Wales to defeat on Sunday, three days after they overwhelmed the Republic of Ireland 4-1.

With several young players earning first caps or gaining further experience in recent games, Giggs is encouraged by his side's development.

"It's a learning curve in so many ways," he said.

"It's my fifth game in charge so I'm happy with the progress we're making.

"We took the plaudits on Thursday; now we've got to answer the questions on a defeat."

Giggs was appointed as Chris Coleman's successor in January 2018 and, after beating China, losing to Uruguay and drawing with Mexico in three friendly fixtures, his reign began in earnest this month with the start of the Nations League.

Wales dazzled in their demolition of the Republic of Ireland, with 17-year-old Ethan Ampadu and 21-year-old David Brooks catching the eye.

However, Wales faced far sterner opposition in Aarhus on Sunday, as a defensively robust Danish side kept them at bay and earned victory thanks to Eriksen's two goals.

"We did a lot of things well, but other things not so well," Giggs said.

"In the first half we were competitive against a very good team, but it's a disappointing [first] goal to give away.

"The press on the ball wasn't great. When you don't get the press right and Eriksen's free at the edge of the box - something we talked about beforehand - you're in trouble. So I'm disappointed with that.

"The second half, we started well. We were the better team and were on the front foot; then the penalty happened. Was it a penalty? I thought it was a bit harsh, but sometimes you get them and sometimes you don't.

"It's not easy after the highs of Thursday to get back up again, and I tried to freshen it up as much as I could."

'No excuses' from 'proud' Bale

One of Giggs' changes from Thursday's win over the Republic of Ireland was to rest captain Ashley Williams and give Gareth Bale the job for the first time in his 72-cap career.

The Real Madrid star was not at his best, but Giggs dismissed the suggestion that the decision was a mistake.

"I don't think it affected his performance," the manager said.

"I'm lucky because, with Ash not in the team, we have a lot of candidates for the captaincy.

"I just felt he [Bale] was the most experienced. He leads by example and he's very vocal in the dressing room. When Gareth speaks, especially the young players listen and it wasn't a difficult situation.

"I could have picked others, Chris Gunter or Aaron Ramsey, but I felt Gareth was best suited to do the role from the rest of the players."

Bale himself was disappointed with the outcome in Aarhus but said there were positives Wales could take from the game.

"I think we were in the game until the penalty," said Bale.

"It was a difficult night in terms of the result, but there are positives to take from the game.

"I didn't think it was a penalty - it was very harsh - and that kind of made the game a bit different, a bit more open. We kind of lost our style of play and were chasing the game.

"But we're a young team. The new manager's come in and has got new ideas so it takes a bit of time. We'll just keep learning, keep working and reflect on the game and see what we can do better."

Asked about wearing the captain's armband for the first time, Bale added: "Personally it's a proud moment, but it's not about that; it's about performing on the pitch and trying to win and unfortunately we didn't do that.

"Maybe Denmark were a bit fresher tonight, only having one game, but there are no excuses really.

"We prepared well, did everything we could - it just wasn't our night."


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