Warren Gatland admitted he was “not that disappointed” with his side’s performance in the 34-10 Six Nations defeat to Ireland.
Gatland watched his side lose his first game in his second stint in charge as Wales head coach.
“At the end of the game I said in my head that I actually wasn’t that disappointed with our performance,” said Gatland.
“That is because the disappointing things we can fix.”
Ireland stormed into a 27-3 first-half lead that effectively clinched the victory.
The first 40 minutes represented yet another slow start for Wales in a tournament campaign.
“That was brought on ourselves by the fact we conceded penalties which gave them the momentum to get into our 22,” added Gatland.
“We didn’t have a good enough exit to start the game and we were 14 points down and under the pump.
“The penalty count in that first period was seven to one. That gave them the momentum to get the start they wanted and put us under quite a bit of pressure.”
Gatland believes his side were different after half-time after showing a “huge” improvement.
“We spoke about putting them under pressure with line speed. I thought that definitely improved,” he said.
“We created a number of chances but we weren’t clinical enough to finish them.
“The number of entries for both teams into the 22 were the same. That’s a big work-on for us but there’s a lot of positives out of that performance apart from the scoreboard.
“In that first half there were a couple of times we could have got over the line and we’ve had an intercept of seven points against us. Potentially it could have been a lot closer.
“In the second half when we were putting Ireland under pressure at 27-10 if we’d scored then and got it to 27-17 it could have been an interesting couple of minutes.
“They are a very good side, the number one side in the world, and they showed that this afternoon.”
The Wales coach admitted the home side were too ill-disciplined.
“There were about 16 penalties which just isn’t good enough,” said Gatland.
“You need to get that down to under 10 in international rugby.
“When you come in at half-time and there’s 9-2 on penalties you’re under the pump. We will work on that and some decision-making going forward.
“We will keep working hard. International rugby – you realise it’s a massive step up from club rugby.
“A lot of our players have been in the same position as Ireland are now, when you’re in an arm-wrestle you don’t make many mistakes, you’re clinical, you’re disciplined, you back everything.
“It’s going to take a few steps to keep improving in that area.”
Gatland says he was happy with some individual performances, including centre Joe Hawkins on his Six Nations debut.
“There are a lot of good things about him, some good footwork,” added the head coach.
“He wasn’t the only one who made a good break then passes inside and we’ve turned it over straight away.
“He will learn from those moments but he showed some nice touches, footwork and timing.
“Rio Dyer showed a lot of stuff as well and Liam Williams, apart from the yellow card, showed some nice touches too.”
Gatland believes the mistakes can be fixed before next weekend’s trip to Murrayfield to face Scotland who celebrated an away victory against England in the opening fixture.
“We’ll continue to work on that and ask the players to have a look at themselves and be pretty hard,” added Gatland.
“There were definitely some good moments. We made some nice breaks but just didn’t come away with those points.
“We spoke about the experience from that and taking it forward.”