Ryan Giggs absolved Gareth Bale of any blame after Wales’ Euro 2020 qualification hopes were dented by a 1-0 defeat in Hungary.
Bale, who has not scored for three months, missed a golden opportunity to put Wales ahead on the hour, tamely chipping at goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi from 12 yards when completely unmarked.
It was to prove a costly miss as midfielder Mate Patkai grabbed the winner 10 minutes from time, leaving Wales trailing Group E leaders Hungary by six points.
Wales needed a big performance from Bale to revive their Euro 2020 hopes, but the Real Madrid forward looked lethargic throughout and struggled to make an impression on the game.
“You have seen it in both games, a lot of the players are short of match fitness,” Giggs said after back-to-back defeats in Croatia and Hungary.
“Asking Gareth to play two games in a short space of time, the way he plays, after not playing for six weeks. We are asking players to perform miracles really.
“Ethan (Ampadu) has not really played. I did well to get 50 minutes out of him. Brooksy (David Brooks) was the same.
“But in our defence, we are playing one game less and we had two tough away games, five weeks after the season finished.”
With the halfway mark of the campaign fast approaching, Wales are playing catch-up in the race for a top-two.
As well as being six points shy of Hungary, albeit with a game in hand, fourth-placed Wales are three behind Slovakia and Croatia.
Wales’ next fixture is a September home game with bottom-placed Azerbaijan.
“We have to probably win nearly every game now,” Giggs said.
“I know it’s early doors and there are still a lot of points, but we have made it really difficult for ourselves.
“We are probably relying on teams around us to drop points, which they will do because it is competitive.
“Obviously we have to start winning and if not win all the games, then the majority of them.”
Giggs feels Wales paid the price for some sloppy defending in the last two games.
“We have given soft goals we gave away in both games, and you can’t do that as this level,” he said.
“The performance was not good enough in the first half. The tempo was too slow and Hungary were putting us under pressure with too many set-pieces.
“The second half was much better, moving the ball quicker.
“We looked the more dangerous team. But if you don’t take your chances, this is what happens.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
Know more about Sport360 Application