46-year-old happy with win in final Nations Cup match but occasionally frustrated by performance, insisting it's a 'gradual process' for his side
A confident Wales performance saw off Nigel Worthington’s youthful side 2-0 thanks to goals from captain Aaron Ramsey and substitute Robert Earnshaw, and Speed told Sky Sports: “It was nice to win the game, it was a good result for us. We played well in parts, but the game was a bit frustrating for us as well.
“I thought we had the ball for long periods of time, and at times we got sloppy on it and didn’t really do what we wanted to do, but other times we looked quite good in opening them up.
“You’ve got to give credit to Northern Ireland, they’ve got a young team, Nigel Worthington’s got them really organized and they made it difficult for us.
“But we have to combat that and get more efforts on goal which our possession deserved, and I don’t think we did that tonight.”
The victory ended a torrid run of six consecutive defeats for Wales, and Speed believes the confidence gained from the result will provide a platform for the games to come as his side look to build towards the qualification process for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
“It’s a gradual process, and we’re trying to put things in place here to make sure we’re in a position to compete in the next World Cup campaign,” he added.
“There’s a lot of hard work still to be done and bridges still to be crossed, but hopefully this will go some way towards completing that.”
The Wales boss also paid tribute to the commitment of his players for the effort they showed in approaching the week’s international fixtures after grueling club campaigns.
The 46-year-old said: “I think the best thing is we’ve been together for a week, and I can only thank the players because they’ve shown great commitment.
“It’s the easiest thing in the world at the end of the season not to come, but they’ve shown their commitment to what we want to do and that will only help us in the long run.”