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'We didn't play enough to our ability' - Relief amid disappointment for Wales manager Giggs

'We didn't play enough to our ability' - Relief amid disappointment for Wales manager Giggs

Ryan Giggs succeeded Chris Coleman as Wales managerManager Ryan Giggs criticised Wales' performance as they beat Azerbaijan, but was relieved to claim an "important" 2-1 win.Gareth Bale's late header saved Wales from an embarrassing draw against opponents ranked 109th in the world.That kept alive their hopes of qualifying for Euro 2020, despite a poor display at Cardiff City Stadium on Friday.
"There are positives, but also things I was disappointed with," said Giggs."It was important. We said before it was a must-win game and we won it."Wales took a first-half lead when a deflected Bale shot hit Pavlo Pashayev and rolled in for an own goal.Mahir Emreli equalised for Azerbaijan in the 58th minute, before Wales captain Bale headed in with just over five minutes to play."I wasn't happy with the first half," Giggs said. "We didn't play well, didn't stick to the game plan. Too many mistakes, too many players off form."I wasn't happy at half-time because I knew 1-0 wouldn't be good enough. We needed to score that second goal.
Little room for error
"I'm delighted with the three points, delighted with the character we have shown because it's not easy at all. We always work hard."Back-to-back defeats against Croatia and Hungary in June - the first time Wales had lost successive qualifiers for six years - had left Giggs' side with precious little room for error for the rest of this campaign.Friday's victory lifted Wales up to third in Group E - level on six points with fourth-placed Slovakia. Croatia's thumping away win against Slovakia saw the World Cup finalists join leaders Hungary on nine points.Wales remain in contention to qualify, but the unimpressive nature of their performance against Azerbaijan was a cause for concern."First half I was not happy because I felt there were goals there if we stuck to the game plan, if we moved the ball quickly and were patient, made Azerbaijan run. We didn't," Giggs added.
Bale rescues Wales in Euro qualifier
As it happened - Wales 2-1 Azerbaijan
"We were too hasty to get to the goal, in too much of a rush to play those forward passes."Azerbaijan are good at what they do, it's the same result they had in Croatia. They could have scored two or three in Croatia playing exactly the same way. "It's not easy. I've been in games like that. You're never sure whether to stick or twist, to play that risk ball or not but you must always have that confidence. There weren't enough players in good form in the first half. "Joe Rodon excellent for his first cap - wow, what a performance. Also Tom Lawrence worked really hard and Jonny Williams when he came on made a big difference. "There were a lot of positives but all I ask of players is they play to their ability and there weren't enough who did that tonight."
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