Connor Roberts feels Wales must find their form from a year ago to qualify for Euro 2020.
Wales kept in the hunt for a finals place next summer with a 2-1 home victory over Azerbaijan on Friday night.
But it was another scratchy performance from Ryan Giggs’ side and victory against opponents ranked 109 in the world – 85 places below Wales – was again down to their talismanic captain Gareth Bale.
The Real Madrid forward headed home six minutes from time to move Wales above Slovakia into third place and to within three points of joint Group E leaders Croatia and Hungary.
Next month’s double-header against Slovakia and Croatia now looks pivotal and Swansea full-back Roberts said: “They’re a brilliant team with world-class players.
“If we want to compete with them and get what we want, we have to play well.
“We have to play better than this, probably better than we have for a year or so. We have to get back to that.
“The boys have to go back to their clubs after Monday (when Wales meet Belarus in a friendly), play games and get good form.
“Then when we meet up again we can hopefully do the business.”
Giggs was appointed manager in January 2018, just 18 months after his predecessor Chris Coleman had guided Wales to the semi-finals of Euro 2016.
His reign’s high point came last September with an exhilarating 4-1 Nations League victory over the Republic of Ireland.
But Giggs has failed to make the most of the talented squad at his disposal in the last 12 months, much to the annoyance of an increasingly-unsettled fan base.
“There’s still a lot to come,” Roberts said. “Against Croatia we were touch and go, we were decent in patches.
“We had the two disappointing games (away to Croatia and Hungary) in the summer when we weren’t at our best.
“We weren’t at our best again against Azerbaijan. But hopefully things click sooner rather than later so we can get some momentum.”
Giggs will hope to include Aaron Ramsey for the trip to Slovakia and the home game with Croatia next month.
Ramsey has yet to feature in Euro 2020 qualification because of the hamstring problem which blighted the end of his Arsenal career and has delayed his Juventus debut.
“Aaron’s a brilliant player,” Roberts said.
“Since I’ve been in the squad he’s only played a handful of games. But when he has, he does make a difference.
“As well as Gaz (Bale), you’ve got him up there and you’ve got two world-class players playing for brilliant clubs. You always want your best players on the park, and hopefully he can be back fit and with us next month.”
Scotland’s hopes of qualifying for the 2020 European Championship through Group I rely on getting a positive result against Belgium, according to skipper Andy Robertson.
The 2-1 defeat by Russia at Hampden Park on Friday night – after John McGinn had given the home side an early lead – left the home team despondent.
Steve Clarke’s side finished the match six points behind the visitors after five fixtures with the Red Devils three points clear at the top with maximum points from five games.
The Scots have a Nations League semi-final place next March as a qualifying safety net of sorts but, if they are to forego that and reach the finals through the normal route, the Liverpool left-back concedes they have to take something on Monday night from the world’s number one ranked side.
Robertson knows Belgium have twice won comfortably in the two meetings between the sides in the last 12 months.
He said: “It doesn’t matter how far we are behind Belgium, they were always going to win this group comfortably.
“The worrying thing is how far we are behind Russia. We could have been the team to compete with them and now they are six points clear.
“That is going to be pretty hard to get back but we need to try and unfortunately we have Belgium at home next.
“There is no other option but to get a result and if we don’t get one on Monday, I think it will be verging on impossible to get through this group.
“We need the belief of that first 15 minutes, that we can cause good teams problems.
“Belgium are a big step up from Russia and when we get the ball we need to keep it because it is tough.
“It is going to be a hell of a task to believe we can get something from Belgium but we need to believe that we can.
“We need a point or three points, it is going to be very hard but you never know, if we show up we can cause teams problems.”
Spain new boy Pablo Sarabia maintains the squad must not allow themselves to get carried away with talk of Euro 2020 qualification as they prepare to tackle the Faroe Islands.
After battling to a 2-1 away win over Romania, La Roja are fully expected to record a sixth-straight Group F victory against the Nordic minnows in Gijon on Sunday.
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Sarabia, who captained Spain to success in the 2001 European Under-19 Championship, made his senior international debut when coming off the bench in Bucharest on Thursday night.
While Robert Moreno’s men may well be on course to secure safe passage through to Euro 2020 following a disappointing Nations League campaign, Sarabia knows the players must remain focused on the job in hand.
“We cannot think that the classification is already made,” the former Getafe and Sevilla midfielder said.
“The mentality and the best way to face the matches is one by one, with the greatest enthusiasm possible to win them all.”
Sarabia, 27, added at a press conference: “The fans are excited and we know what we have to do.
“It is going game by game, winning, so that the fans can then have more and more enthusiasm.”
Having earned a taste of senior international football, Sarabia, who came through the Real Madrid youth system, is determined to make the most of the opportunities ahead.
“I am enjoying the moment, of course, having made a dream come true, and it is fantastic to be here with players of a very high level,” he said.
“I have worked a lot already in Seville and before in Getafe to be here, and now I want to continue.”
Real Sociedad defender Diego Llorente will be suspended following his red card during the closing stages of the Romania game.
The Faroe Islands, meanwhile, remain without a point in the group having lost 4-0 against Sweden in Torshavn.