Chris Coleman insists Wales are still heading towards Euro 2016 “full of confidence” despite a poor run of results.
Wales’ 1-0 defeat to fellow finalists Ukraine in Kiev on Monday night made it only one win in six games either side of qualifying for the nation’s first major tournament experience in 58 years.
Since September, Wales have drawn at home to Israel, lost in Bosnia and beaten one of European football’s whipping boys, Andorra, in their closing Euro 2016 qualifiers.
In the three friendlies since securing qualification, Wales have lost to Holland and Ukraine and been held at home by Northern Ireland.
But Coleman believes those results have masked some satisfying Wales performances.
“Results will be what they are going to be, but I think if we’re going into a tournament – our first tournament since 1958 – and we’re worried about that (momentum), we’re looking at it all wrong,” said Coleman.
“We’re going into it full of positivity and full of confidence because the performances have been good.
“I think you’ve got to look at the reality.
“I only ever have a problem with my team if they don’t put out and they don’t give 100 per cent when they put the Welsh jersey on.
“But I can’t complain about my players the way they have played.”
Coleman also cited mitigating circumstances in the quality of the opposition Wales have faced in the build-up towards this summer’s finals in France.
The 45-year-old has always felt it is better for Wales to test themselves against better teams, rather than play weaker sides and record “wins for the CV”.
And, although he did not say it in the aftermath of a Kiev clash settled by Andrij Yarmolenko’s excellent first-half finish, Coleman was once again without his two most influential players.
Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey have not featured in any of the three friendlies since the final Euro 2016 qualifying game against Andorra, and it is impossible to overstate their importance to Wales.
“I think in the last six games you’ve got to understand who we’ve played against,” said Coleman.
“Bosnia’s never going to be easy and the home game against Israel, where we absolutely hammered them but couldn’t score, was an excellent performance.
“Sometimes you can look at stats and get carried away with them.”