Wales boss Rob Page defended his decision not to start Gareth Bale when Wales lost 2-1 to Belgium in the Nations League.
Wales’ result leaves them rooted at the bottom of League A4, but on Sunday they have a chance to overtake Poland with a win.
Bale was named to the bench for the match and came in as a substitute in the second half in the 61st minute.
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The LAFC winger has only had one training session with the group after arriving from the US on Tuesday and is expected to start against Poland.
When asked why Bale hadn’t started, Page explained, “All travel. The time difference returning is hard work for players to adjust to.
“Throwing him straight into an away match against Belgium would be crazy.
“It was good for him to have a few minutes after jet lag.
“A wise choice not to play from the start, but I wanted to go up as soon as possible and help the team.
“It’s a great lesson for us. We were without five players to make us stronger. “
The Wales manager is adamant that all his attention will be on Sunday’s match against Poland, as he will need all three points to avoid relegation.
The page added: “It’s a final. Forget the World Cup, this is the match we want to win on Sunday.
“We just need to get the boys back. Some changes will be made and we’re going to field a team to win the game.
“With the qualification for the World Cup we are asking to compete against nations like Belgium, like Holland, and we have been in the game until the end. It says a lot about that group of players. “
Brennan Johnson showed just what he was capable of as he set Kieffer Moore’s consolation goal with a solid assist.
The Nottingham Forest youngster impressed in the Premier League with two goals this season and Page praised his impact.
“Brennan has been superb, he has come forward so much in such a short time.
I asked him for something different in midfield.
When you see him running with the ball he is fantastic, this is his game, this is his strength. “
Wales were placed in Group B for the World Cup, along with England, Iran and the United States.
The match in Poland will be Page’s last chance to evaluate his squad before naming his final team for the tournament.