Rob Earnshaw insists Wales have shown they are heading in the right direction after boss Gary Speed secured his first win as manager.
Goals from skipper Aaron Ramsey and Earnshaw sealed a 2-0 victory over Northern Ireland in the Carling Nations Cup in Dublin on Friday night.
And, as far as Earnshaw is concerned, that first win for Speed and his players was crucial to bolster the morale of a team, and he said: "I'm very pleased. We needed it and the manager needed it. The whole team needed it because it just gave us a lift and a boost because we are working hard."
"We've had a few games where we are progressing all the time but we needed to win. You are always trying to work hard and do the tactics but the end result is a win so it was good to get it."
The Nottingham Forest forward added: "Since the new manager has taken over, it has given me a big lift because of what he is trying to do, what he is setting out to do.
"He wants this team to do well. When you've got a manager who wants the team to do well and wants to progress this team and really do things, it has an affect on all the players. It gives us a direction of where we are trying to go in the next four or five years."
Previous defeats in the tournament meant neither side was in contention to lift the trophy, with Wales at least avoiding the wooden spoon, which went to a Northern Ireland team who finished with no points and no goals over the three matches.
Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington has been forced to operate with depleted resources this week, but goalkeeper Jonny Tuffey believes there were plusses to take from the Wales game following their 5-0 thrashing against the Republic of Ireland earlier in the week.
He said: "The result was hard to take but, if you look beyond that at the performance, there are a lot of positives to take. The younger, inexperienced boys can take a lot from that game tonight.
"Right the way through the team, Wales were packed with Premiership quality. I think we did well in terms of discipline, shape and organisation. The boys put a real shift in."
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