Zinedine Zidane has hailed Gareth Bale for upping his game when Real Madrid needed him after the rousing comeback from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at Rayo Vallecano on Saturday afternoon.
Bale, who has had another injury hit season, was the main man in Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence. And the Welshman netted twice to help Los Blancos record three valuable points and keep pace with the top two in the league.
At his press conference afterwards, Zidane admitted his team started poorly – they conceded twice in the opening 15 minutes – but was pleased with the fightback they showed.
“It was a hard-fought, difficult game. We struggled in the opening 10-15 minutes, but a football match is played over 90 minutes. At the start of the game, we weren’t applying pressure as a team against a side who know how to play, but then we improved from the end of the first half onwards and when we did things properly – which was after they had gone 2-0 up – the game went in our favour,” he told reporters.
About Bale, the Frenchman said: “I’m very happy because he’s making the difference. We needed Bale to step up, and he did so superbly. He’s been really good and I’m happy because he hasn’t had the minutes and he’s in good shape. Now he must rest up and start thinking about Tuesday. We needed him today and he performed really well.
“We could talk about his part in the two goals, but he put in a fantastic all-round performance. He created chances and physically he gets stronger as the game goes on. He was great.”