Wales caretaker manager Brian Flynn admitted his team's Euro 2012 qualification hopes had been "severely damaged" following Friday night's 1-0 defeat against Bulgaria at Cardiff City Stadium.
Wales were undone by a 48th-minute strike by Bulgaria's Ivelin Popov, and then to compound their misery they had full-back Chris Gunter sent off in injury time. Gunter was dismissed for a cynical challenge on Dimitar Rangelov and will now miss Wales' next qualifier against Switzerland in Basle on Tuesday night.
"It was painful and it was disappointing," he said. "It wasn't part of the script, obviously. I would say our hopes of qualifying have been severely damaged."
Flynn, put in charge for games against Bulgaria and Switzerland following John Toshack's exit last month, had hoped to put Wales back on track in Group G, a qualifying section that also includes England.
But Welsh hopes of progressing now appear slim after losing their opening two games, and Flynn is realistic enough to know the odds are now stacked against his players.
He added: "It is going to be tough now, but we will train first thing on Saturday and prepare the players for Switzerland.
"We had chances, there were some golden opportunities, and we nearly scored early on with Chris Gunter's shot. That would have been a dream start to be honest."
While Wales shaded the first half, Bulgaria were transformed after the break and proved good value for the win under their new manager Lothar Matthaus.
Flynn added: "We became a little bit predictable, and the opposition find that easy to deal with. It didn't happen enough for us, and I learned who performs in the heat of battle when it matters."
As for his chances of landing the Wales job on a permanent basis, an honest Flynn said: "I am caretaker for two matches, and my plan was to get six points, which hasn't happened. I've had a head start but I have been reined back a little bit now. Personally, this has dented it."