Wales narrowly beat Samoa 17-13 in a bruising encounter with a tense finale at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Friday night.
Wales scored early thanks to a try by wing Leigh Halfpenny, but the visitors pegged them back in the second half, and scored an intercept try through Seilala Mapasua which brought the scores to within four points.
“We wanted to be more ruthless in our approach, but unfortunately we werent,” said Wales coach Gatland. “We created a lot of chances and 11 line breaks to their two and should have put the game away comfortably.
“But our finishing simply wasn’t clinical enough. We have to learn from our mistakes and in the first-half we kept kicking the ball away.
“We felt physically that if we kept playing with tempo their forwards would struggle and tire later on. It was a very frustrating game and we didnt get any real momentum going.”
“The game should have been out of sight by the time they got their interception try – that was a 14 point try because if he hadnt have caught it we would probably have scored,” said Gatland.
“It was a little bit too close for comfort in the end and we put ourselves under pressure. But we have come away with a win.”
Samoa can be proud of their effort, and will head to Paris next weekend on a high as they will take on France.
“The boys can be very proud of themselves for pushing a top tier nation so close,” said Samoa captain George Stowers.
“It was a case of so near but our performance showed we deserve more games against the big teams especially after just a few days together.
“For many of us it was the first time we had played Wales so this was a great heads up for where we are against the best teams.
“Against France next week we have to be smart, keep our discipline and play for the full 80 minutes as well as putting in the big hits.”