Giggs accuses players of complacency after embarrassing defeat to Albania

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Ryan Giggs accused his Wales players of complacency after an embarrassing 1-0 defeat to Albania.

Wales are 42 places higher than Albania, in 60th, on the FIFA rankings and the hosts had lost 4-0 to Scotland on Saturday to suffer Nations League relegation.

But Bekim Balaj’s 59th minute penalty condemned Wales to a shock 1-0 friendly defeat in Elbasan, handing Giggs’ side a confidence blow before the 2020 European Championship qualifiers start in March.

Gareth bAle
Gareth Bale could not prevent Wales losing in Albania (Adam Davy/PA)

“We totally controlled the first half and we thought it was going to be easy. It’s nothing to do with hard work or the ability of the players.

“Quite simply, it was concentration and complacency. We just turned up thinking we would win, someone would score the goal, someone would get us out of trouble.”

Gareth Bale was sent on for the last half hour but the Real Madrid forward failed to turn the tide Wales’ way.

Chris Gunter
Chris Gunter made his 93rd appearance for Wales (Adam Davy/PA)

Taulant Xhaka escaped a first half red card after appearing to move his head towards David Brooks and make contact with the Bournemouth forward.

Jakimovski then turned down strong Welsh appeals for a penalty at 1-0 after Harry Wilson fell under Migjen Basha’s challenge.

But Giggs said: “We should have been out of sight by then so I don’t want to put any blame on the referee.

“Sometimes you get bad decisions in football and you have to get on with it. Maybe in the future it’s a learning curve because sometimes you go away from home in a hostile environment and you don’t get the decisions.

Christian Panucci
Albania manager Christian Panucci was in defiant mood after his side beat Wales (Adam Davy/PA)

“Players are still learning about me, I’m still learning about the players. Generally this group of players have come back after a defeat and proved the critics wrong. It was a lesson that there are no easy games in international football, you can’t take anything for granted and we’ll learn from it in future.”

Albania manager Christian Panucci had seemingly come into the game with his job hanging by a thread.

Some pre-match reports even suggested that former Italy defender Panucci had been sacked before the game.

“I won’t be sacked and I won’t resign,” Panucci said after Albania’s second win in nine games.

“I like to fight until the end. I won’t abandon the ship when the sea is harsh. I’m happy with the victory. The boys played well, even though we suffered at key moments in the first half.”

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