France the best team we've faced, says Wales boss Chris Coleman
By Ben Grounds
Last Updated: 10/11/17 11:32pm
Chris Coleman hailed France as the best team Wales have played during his time in charge after suffering a 2-0 defeat.
Goals from Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud sealed a comfortable victory for Les Bleus in Paris, and Wales were thankful for the woodwork on three occasions as Didier Deschamps' men produced another impressive display.
Coleman opted to field an experienced side despite the absence of Gareth Bale, and the nature of France's dominance for large spells vindicated his decision to protect the country's youngsters at the start.
Ethan Ampadu and David Brooks were handed their first senior appearances in the second period and both gave good accounts of themselves.
"I think it was always going to be tough," Coleman said after the match. "Not just because of the quality we're up against, but you have to understand where we are mentally at the moment after the disappointment of losing out on the play-offs.
"There's still a bit of a hangover, and I think it'll be there for a while, it's just a matter of time before we get that out of our thinking.
"I have to say that's probably the best team we've played against. Top, top quality. It was good for us though, we needed it for ourselves. We gave some of the younger ones a taste for it, and that's invaluable for them."
Ampadu and Brooks joined Liverpool forward Ben Woodburn in providing a glimpse of the future with energetic cameos at the Stade de France, with Ampadu's shot very nearly deflecting in off Aaron Ramsey with the score at 1-0.
Coleman is yet to confirm if he will take charge of Wales' qualifying campaign for Euro 2020, but the manager is optimistic about the future, and believes the coming friendlies are an opportunity to blood some youth.
He added: "I know the games we're playing to qualify are not for another year, so in between now and then we need to give them as much experience as we can. I was really pleased for them.
"I think in 12 months' time the squad that will be available to Wales, to us, will be better than the squad we took to France in 2016. It's not all doom and gloom.
"We have to look to the future. This will be a transitional period."