Wales boss Gemma Grainger: I don’t think there was a huge gap on the pitch
Phil Blanche, PA
Gemma Grainger insisted there is no huge gap between Wales and Denmark despite her side suffering a 5-1 Nations League thrashing in Cardiff.
Wales suffered the heaviest defeat of Grainger’s two-and-a-half-year reign as manager as Bayern Munich striker Pernille Harder struck a hat-trick at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Frederikke Thogersen and Sanne Troelsgaard were also on target as Denmark, ranked 12th in the world and 17 places above Wales, showed their class, with Jess Fishlock briefly reducing the deficit to 2-1 at the start of the second half.
“I don’t think it’s a 5-1 game. I think there were times particularly at 2-1 and, even at 3-1, where we had very good chances,” Grainger said after Wales had conceded five goals for the first time since a 5-0 defeat to the Netherlands in 2017.
“I don’t think there was a huge gap on the pitch. Goals have affected the game.
“At 2-1 I thought we were the most likely to score. I’m disappointed with the third goal because that takes the momentum out of the game.
“Denmark have continued with that momentum and put their chances away.
“It was a tight game but as soon as the fourth goal went in it becomes very difficult.
“Denmark played their strongest team and some of the best football I’ve seen from them, and we made them play that football.”
Wales, who lost their opening Nations League game in Iceland on Friday and are bottom of Group A3, face a daunting October away double-header.
Grainger’s side visit top seeds Germany – who bounced back from their opening defeat to Denmark by beating Iceland 4-0 on Tuesday – on October 27. They then play their return with Denmark four days later.
“I want our performances to get better and we know what we need to do to stay in League A,” said Grainger.
“We know what we need to finish in third place and I’m very focused on that and performing in every game.
“When we qualify for European Championships, we are going to play against these teams – and these teams are clinical.
“They will take the majority of their chances. That’s something we need to take note of.
“I want to be in League A. I don’t want us to lose but I want to have these nights because ultimately they are going to create conversation and stretch us.
“These are the nights that are going to take us closer to where we want to be.”
Captain Sophie Ingle admitted that Wales were unable to copy with her former Chelsea colleague Harder.
Ingle said: “She’s a very clever player. She plays off your back shoulder.
“You think you’ve got her one minute, then she moves and just glides past you.
“She’s very clever at finding those spaces. The Denmark midfield played really well and got her on the ball.”
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