Ryan Giggs: Wales performance against Slovakia 'a step forward'

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Wales boss Ryan Giggs believes his side took "a step forward" in their 1-1 Euro 2020 qualifying draw in Slovakia.

Wales, who host Croatia on Sunday, remain fourth in Group E but have a game in hand over the three teams above them and a superior head-to-head record over Slovakia.

Giggs had expressed a belief before the match that Slovakia represented a game that was "must not lose".

"Overall I was happy to draw, it could have gone either way," he said.

"I do think we took a step forward tonight. It's never easy away form home and it's always fine margins.

"It's about taking chances and being competitive on the night. I do think we took a step forward, especially defensively. We can always keep the ball better. When we do that we create chances and we get our good players on the ball."

Wales' draw in Trnava ensured they remain fourth in an extremely congested Group E, behind Croatia, Slovakia and Hungary.

Group leaders Croatia will be without suspended Marcelo Brozovic at Cardiff City Stadium on Sunday after the Inter Milan midfielder received his third tournament booking in their 3-0 win over Hungary on Thursday.

On the same night, Wales suffered the disappointment of conceding an equaliser after an excellent first-half display.

Even so, Giggs was happy Wales maintained a head-to-head advantage over Slovakia thanks to their 1-0 win in Cardiff in March.

"I still feel the same," Giggs said. "Obviously now we have a better head-to-head than Slovakia but you still have to capitalise on that. It could have gone either way and it was end to end, a good game for the neutral.

"Overall I am happy to get the draw because we were under pressure at times. But we probably created the better chances. We could have won it, we could have lost it.

"I was pleased with the first half. We kept our shape and did not give much away. We still could have kept the ball better in the first half and the second half. You have to weather a bit of a storm, Wayne [Hennessey] makes a fantastic save. But we also had opportunities to score in the second half."

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Giggs was happy with the performances of goalscorer Kieffer Moore and defender Tom Lockyer, two surprise selections who were handed their competitive debuts.

"I thought they both did well," he said.

"Tom Lockyer has gone up to the Championship and is in the form of his life so he deserved a chance.

"Kieffer was a handful all night. He gives us an option. I am really pleased with the goal and overall really pleased with both of their performances as well.

"Kieffer occupies the two centre-halves and he gives us a different option."

The Wales boss dismissed fears over Gareth Bale's fitness after he suffered a knock in the late stages of the game, but admitted Wales cold be without Ethan Ampadu for Sunday's visit of Croatia.

"Ethan has a lack of game time and was feeling a bit tired, a bit leggy. We will have to assess him because he is not playing games at the moment. It might be too quick a turnaround for Ethan [to play on Sunday]," Giggs said.

"Gareth did take a bit of a knock. It was on the far side so I did not see what happened. I was a bit worried when the referee gave the stretcher sign, but Gareth is fine and he should be okay."

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