De­feat a ‘learn­ing curve’ – Giggs

Man­ager dis­misses sug­ges­tion hand­ing Bale cap­taincy was a mis­take

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Soccer -

Ryan Giggs felt Wales’ de­feat to Den­mark was a “learn­ing curve” for his young play­ers.

Tot­ten­ham’s Chris­tian Erik­sen scored in each half as Den­mark ran out com­fort­able 2-0 Uefa Na­tions League win­ners in Aarhus.

“It wasn’t easy af­ter the highs of Thurs­day to get back up again,” Giggs said, re­fer­ring to their 4-1 open­ing Na­tions League vic­tory against the Repub­lic of Ire­land.

“Against a very good team and phys­i­cally with the quick turn­around we found it dif­fi­cult. But the lads kept go­ing and for the young play­ers it’s a learn­ing curve.

“I tried to freshen it up as much as I could and also keep that rhythm of play­ing so well. But you had a team who played two com­pet­i­tive games in a short space of time and a team that didn’t – and it showed in the end.”

Gareth Bale cap­tained Wales for the first time in his 72-cap ca­reer as vet­eran de­fender Ash­ley Wil­liams was rested on the back of the Ire­land game.

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

Per­for­mance

“I don’t think it af­fected his per­for­mance. I’m lucky be­cause with Ash not in the team we have a lot of can­di­dates for the cap­taincy. I just felt he 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.”

Den­mark were in con­trol from the mo­ment Erik­sen opened the scor­ing af­ter 32 min­utes with a low drive which went in off a post. And Erik­sen made it 15 goals in his last 18 in­ter­na­tional ap­pear­ances with a 63rd-minute penalty af­ter Ethan Am­padu had han­dled Vik­tor Fis­cher’s cross. “Our style of play in be­tween the lines suits Chris­tian a lot,” said Den­mark man­ager Age Hareide. “There’s a dif­fer­ent po­si­tion­ing in the of­fen­sive play in our team to Tot­ten­ham’s and we are al­ways look­ing for him in and around the box.

“I didn’t think in the first half we had the rhythm, but it could have been that Wales was good too. We found the rhythm bet­ter in the sec­ond half, and we are used to play­ing tight matches.

“We did well in World Cup qual­i­fi­ca­tion play­ing tight matches, and it was clear that our legs were fresher than Welsh legs later in the game.”

‘‘ You had a team who played two com­pet­i­tive games in a short space of time and a team that didn’t – and it showed in the end

PHO­TO­GRAPH: MATTHEW CHILDS/REUTERS

■ Wales’ Ethan Am­padu in ac­tion against Chris­tian Erik­sen of Den­mark in Aarhus.

Of­fen­sive play

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