Relegation will not dent Wales’ confidence for the World Cup – Robert Page
Robert Page insisted that Wales’ relegation from the Nations League’s top tier is not going to “derail” his World Cup-bound team.
Wales’ send-off ended in a 1-0 defeat to Poland at Cardiff City Stadium and demotion from League A.
Karol Swiderski, just as he had done when the two sides met in Wroclaw in June, came up with a second-half winner.
“We all hate losing games of football, we don’t like the fact we have been relegated,” Wales manager Page said.
“But let’s look at the opposition we have been up against – Holland, Belgium and Poland. And we’ve had a lot of injuries. But it is not going to derail us, it’s not going to dent our confidence whatsoever.
“We got promoted, we wanted to use playing in this league as a tool to improve our younger players and expose them to better players and teams, which is what we’ve done.
“From our point of view, from the progression of the last couple of years, we’ve been in the games, like we were today.
“We created enough chances to win with our second string XI, and that is not being disrespectful to the players who were out there, but when you are missing Aaron Ramsey, Harry Wilson, Ben Davies, Joe Allen, Ethan Ampadu and Chris Mepham, it’s a big chunk of the team.
“We are disappointed we’ve lost the game and got relegated, but it is not the end of the world and we are now fully focused on the World Cup.”
Wales captain Gareth Bale played the full 90 minutes, and he will now return to Los Angeles FC ahead of Wales’ World Cup campaign.
Page added: “They want Gareth available for them and we want him in the physical position for the first (World Cup) game against the USA. We will be in contact with them and make sure he is in the right place.
“What he does from now until the first game, we will be in contact with the club and help manage those minutes.
“They are a good outfit, LA, so they will know exactly how to get him from where he is now to full fitness, which is 90 minutes week in, week out.
“Hopefully, we get promotion back up, and when we do, we are in a better place from having gone through those experiences.
“There are far too many positives to be negative about it. The attitude of the players was tremendous. As much as we are disappointed with the defeat, we will take a lot from it.”
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