Wales boss Chris Coleman admitted that Gareth Bale was never going to feature in the World Cup qualifying defeat to Macedonia.
Coleman raised eyebrows when he named Bale on the bench despite the Real Madrid midfielder not having played any football since July.
The world-record signing watched from the dugout as his team-mates slipped to a 2-1 defeat, and Coleman revealed afterwards that the decision to name Bale as a substitute was an attempt at mind games.
Coleman insisted Bale was not fit enough to play any part, and that his presence was merely a ploy to unsettle opposition number Cedomir Janevski.
When asked if he considered bringing Bale on to try and salvage a draw in the late stages, a tetchy Coleman replied: "What part of he's not fit are you not listening to? Why bring him on if he's not fit?
"You think I would not have used him if he was fit? I don't mind what other people think. What I look at is the opposition. If I'm the opposition manager and Bale is on the bench, maybe it would affect his thinking.
"If he was fit he would have played. I spoke to him, he is not ready. Simple. I haven't conned the supporters to say he might play. If there was a chance he would have played, but there wasn't. We can't take the risk."
Coleman was angered further when questioned about losing his passport earlier this week, which delayed his arrival in Skopje until late on Thursday.
Asked if he was planning to apologise over the incident, Coleman said: "To who? What are you talking about? What you don't know is what we do day to day. All the work had been done. If we'd won you wouldn't make much out of it, but you will because we lost and that's up to you."
On the match, Coleman insisted his team were unfortunate to leave Skopje empty-handed after having the better of much of the encounter.
He said: "The pitch was not great and didn't help the way we play, but we stuck at it and were probably beaten by the pitch at the end of the day. They can feel very lucky to get three points.
"Sometimes when you lose and you deserve to lose then at least you can go back and think you could do better but for large periods of the game we were on top and taking the game to Macedonia and had a lot of opportunities."
Coleman was also disappointed with the performance of Swiss referee Sascha Kever, who he thought was too lenient in his treatment of the home side.
He continued: "Nowadays the rules are you can't pull shirts - I'm 60 yards away from both boxes and I can tell you there were a lot of shirts being pulled.
"The referee is closer than I am, why can't he see it? There were a few incidents we weren't happy with at all, one or two bad challenges that on another day are red cards.
"But we got on with it, we didn't come for one point, we came for three. We took the game to them and we came away with nothing. Unfortunately sometimes in football you don't always get what you deserve."