Ryan Giggs felt Wales had shown too much respect to Croatia in the early stages of a 2-1 loss in Osijek that dented their hopes of qualifying for Euro 2020.
Giggs admits that his side ‘need to play a lot better’ in Budapest on Tuesday when they take on Hungary.
Croatia have never lost at home in European Championship qualifying and they got an early helping hand when James Lawrence turned Ivan Perisic’s powerful low cross into his own net.
Some calamitous defending early in the second half gave Perisic the chance to double the advantage for last year’s World Cup finalists.
Substitute David Brooks gave Wales hope when his shot was deflected home 13 minutes from the end but a leveller failed to materialise.
Wales are now third in Group E, needing a victory in Budapest to draw on terms with Croatia and Hungary after three games each.
Giggs admits the Euro 2016 semi-finalists are going to have improve quickly to achieve that aim, with Wales having lost four of their last five away matches – as many as they had lost in their previous 14.
“We showed them far too much respect, we weren’t aggressive enough early on and we made some stupid mistakes and got punished,” Giggs said. “So there are a lot of negatives.”
He added: “Now we prepare for Tuesday. Hungary are a hard-working, physical team, but we will need to play a lot better to get anything out of it.”
Wales are 2.60 favourites to win in Hungary, with the hosts 2.88 and the draw 3.20.