Gareth Bale says it was “always the plan” to play only the first half for Wales in their emphatic 5-1 win over Belarus in World Cup qualifying on Saturday.
Bale won his 100th Wales cap as Robert Page’s side moved into second in Group E.
The Red Dragons are now three points ahead of third-placed Czech Republic ahead of a crunch clash against group winners Belgium on Tuesday night.
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The Real Madrid forward made his first appearance for two months after recovering from a hamstring injury and explained afterwards how coming off at half-time was expected.
"I've been out for two months so if we were up, the plan was to come off and be ready for Tuesday," Bale told Sky Sports.
It was always the plan to play 45 minutes.
"As much as I would have loved to have come off to an ovation, you can only have five substitutions, and the team is the important thing.
"I enjoyed the occasion, and I'm pleased to be back. It was a hard road back from injury."
Aaron Ramsey scored twice while Neco Williams, Connor Roberts and Ben Davies also got on the scoresheet for Wales in their biggest win since a 6-0 victory over China in March 2018.
Caretaker manager Page believes his side have what it takes against Belgium to seal second place in the group.
"It sets up really nicely for Tuesday,” he said.
“The world's best team are coming to Cardiff, it'll be rocking again and we'll be ready to go.
“We don't want to limp across the line, we want to get that second spot.”
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