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Wales boss praises his battlers
 Women's Football News 22 Feb 2008
Wales boss praises his battlers - 22 Feb 2008 - Women's Football NewsWales manager Adrian Tucker praised her side after their narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of Holland. 
"Overall, I'm very pleased with the performance," he said. "They showed 100% commitment throughout and battled tremendously hard and well against a good Dutch side, but it is frustrating to lose by the odd goal again.
"The average age of our squad is 21 and average number of caps is under 15, so they have gained a lot of experience from the game but it's a shame we couldn't hang on and get our first points of the tournament."
Adrian reserved special praise for his defence, which restricted Holland to few chances on the night. "In the last half dozen games or so, our defence has been different class," he said. "We slightly changed our system to play four at the back over the last couple of games and we have made ourselves harder to beat, but one slight error at the back has unfortunately cost us as it did on Sunday. Playing against teams like Holland, one lapse in concentration does lead to chances and in this case another goal."
Four of Wales' six matches have resulted in odd goal defeats but Adrian is pleased with the way the team has progressed during the campaign: "It's great to see the players disappointed at 1-0 defeats now - a few years ago they would have been pleased to get away with a 3 or 4 goal defeat but on the last three or four games, due to the performances, it's been very frustrating and the players are more disappointed over these slight errors and that bodes well for the future.
"We could do with a little more experience and strength in certain areas but I cant fault the players this evening, they've been different class all over the park."
Holland coach Vera Pauw was generous in her praise for the Welsh team. "I'm still trying to recover from the game," she smiled. "I think Wales have done a tremendous job and, to be honest, I'm not sure we deserved a win. If you look at the game, a draw would be fair but of course I'm delighted with a win.
"It was a fantastic goal in itself but in the whole game, we only created two more chances. Wales are improving so much and in two years time, we have to be even better prepared for them.
"We were trying to hunt for the second goal but the way the game went on, it was important to defend what we had and I think the girls did a fantastic job in doing that."
Wales midfielder Jessica Fishlock could not hide her frustration at the result. "It's just like a broken record at the moment," she insisted, "as a unit we play well and it's just little mistakes that cost us. That is the difference between this level and previous levels and it's really hard to take every single game.
"It was one bad header and they scored from it but there are things we can learn and things we can take into the next game."
Jessica also conceded that Holland defended their lead well and made things tough for Wales. "We tried to create things but they took their attacking midfielder off for a defensive one and sat back," she said. "Everyone who plays football knows it is hard to break that kind of unit down. They closed the game out well and were pleased to get their goal - they were really struggling to break us down before half time but they got the goal and shut us out well."
However Jessica remained confident that Wales can still break their losing run, in particular in their next match against Switzerland despite suffering two controversial first half cautions. "Switzerland is a game we are looking at to hopefully win," she said. "We've got a few players out with suspension, including myself and Jayne (Ludlow) but I am confident that if we continue to play and learn, we'll definitely pick up some points."

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