Ryan Giggs felt Wales had taken a step forward after drawing 1-1 in Slovakia to keep on track for Euro 2020 qualification.
Wales were unable to take advantage of Slovakia being reduced to 10 men late on when defender Norbert Gyomber was sent off after receiving two yellow cards.
But Kieffer Moore’s first Wales goal after 25 minutes gave them what could prove a crucial point.
Wales remain three points adrift of second-placed Slovakia in Group E, but they have a game in hand and a superior head-to-head record after their 1-0 win in Cardiff in March.
That win could prove decisive in the final reckoning and Giggs said: “I do think we took a step forward, especially defensively.
“It’s never easy away from home and it’s always fine margins. Obviously now we have a better head to head than Slovakia but you still have to capitalise on that.
“It could have gone either way and it was end to end, a good game for the neutral. Overall I’m happy to get the draw because we were under pressure at times.
“But we probably created the better chances. We could have won it, we could have lost it.”
Moore has made the journey to the international stage the hard way after combining being a lifeguard with playing non-league football in his younger days.
The 27-year-old spent time in Norway and kicking around the lower leagues before a productive spell at Barnsley earned him a summer move to Wigan.
Moore capped an impressive display with a well-directed header before Juraj Kucka equalised soon after the interval.
“Kieffer was a handful all night,” Giggs said on an evening when Sunday’s opponents Croatia opened up a three-point lead at the top of the group with a 3-0 win over Hungary.
“He gives us an option. I am really pleased with the goal and overall really pleased with his performance.
“I thought he did really well against Belarus last month, he occupies the two centre-halves and he gives us a different option.
“He took a few knocks. It was a real competitive game without being too dirty. Two teams wanting to win and not taking a backwards step.
“I said before Slovakia are a team that knows exactly what they want to do. They have quality all over the pitch.
“After they scored the crowd were up and the confidence grows, so we had to ride the storm a little bit.”
Slovakia coach Pavel Hapal felt his side shaded what was a pulsating contest from start to finish.
“Wales has always been a very tough opponent for Slovakia,” Hapal said. “You remember the game when we lost to Wales at the Euros (in 2016).
“We wanted to win through high pressing and link-up play, Wales wanted to be successful through good defensive play and counter-attacks.
“Maybe at the start we were a little bit nervous but after the (Wales) goal I thought we started to dominate and play some nice through balls.
“I told the players at half-time that we could step up a gear and score, but unfortunately we couldn’t add the second one.”