Ryan Giggs insisted Wales will be better for the shadow cast’s dress rehearsal for their opening European Championship qualifier this weekend.
The Wales manager saw a youthful team stumble over some of their lines, but stick to their task and finally beat Trinidad and Tobago 1-0 in their friendly at Wrexham.
Ben Woodburn turned the ball home in the 91st minute to give Wales the victory ahead of their altogether more meaningful match against Slovakia on Sunday at the Cardiff City Stadium.
It was a battling performance and Giggs was happy with what he saw, claiming: “They did eventually find a way and it is a great quality to have.
“I thought there was some really good stuff in the first half and in the second. Trinidad and Tobago made it really difficult by sitting back in their shape and then counter-attacking.
“But overall, I’m really happy. There were a few debuts and Woody (Ben Woodburn) getting the goal in the end so there was a lot to be pleased about.
“A win leaves you with a better feeling obviously, and to score late on, if a team has that sort of trait, it’s brilliant to have and that’s what I’ve said to the lads.
“If you keep a clean sheet, you’ve always got a chance and we’ve got Chris Gunter to thank for that with the clearance off the line, but they kept going and it wasn’t easy. I was really pleased with that.”
Wales had not played at the Racecourse Ground since 2008 and much had been made of the national team’s return to the north for the first time for 11 years.
But Real Madrid striker Gareth Bale was among those missing as manager Giggs fielded a shadow side just four days before Wales’ opening qualifier.
“Gareth got his first 90 minutes in three months and took part in a little bit of training on Monday,” Giggs said after 19-year-old Woodburn’s stoppage-time strike gave Wales the win over the Soca Warriors.
“He trained this morning really well, but it was just too much of a risk with Sunday in mind. That was the case with a few of the players.
“We have the advantage in this first game. Slovakia play Thursday then Sunday, it’s a two-and-a-half-day turnaround.
“I wanted to make sure that we made that advantage count this week, both physically and mentally.
“Of course it’s disappointing for the fans. They want to see the likes of Gareth, but it’s my job to make sure we are ready for Sunday.”
George Thomas went close with a stinging second-half shot and saw his header midway through the second half ruled out for offside.
But Wales had made little headway until Liverpool teenager Woodburn sent the 10,326-capacity crowd home happy with his second international goal, chesting home debutant Will Vaulks’ cross from a few inches out.
“The performance, first half especially, I was really pleased with,” said Giggs, whose side had been upset in their previous game by Albania.
“We had a couple of days to work on a few things and felt we did that first half without that final-third composure, making the right decisions and having a bit of quality.
“I was pleased with the first half. Trinidad and Tobago didn’t have anything.
“But I reminded the players at half-time about Albania. It was exactly the same in Albania, so we had to keep that clean sheet.
“We rode our luck a bit in the second half, Trinidad and Tobago made it difficult for us. We just had to be patient.”
Trinidad & Tobago manager Dennis Lawrence felt his side were unfortunate to lose.
“We were very unlucky, I don’t think the boys deserved that,” Lawrence said.
“It was a good workout for us, but they were very comfortable on the ball.
“I was a bit surprised Gareth didn’t play. I thought they would have wanted the fans to get the opportunity to see him, but they made the decision that was best for Wales and for Gareth.”