Bale work rate leaves Zidane beaming


Zinedine Zidane said Gareth Bale's performance against Deportivo La Coruna summed up everything he desires from his Real Madrid players.

The Wales international scored a hat-trick as Madrid triumphed 5-0 in Zidane's first match in charge since replacing Rafael Benitez earlier this week.

The former midfielder stressed before the game that he wanted his side, including star attacking trio Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo, to step up their efforts without the ball.

And the 43-year-old considered Bale's commited display on Saturday to be a prime example, telling the media afterwards: "The work that Gareth has to do is what I ask from everyone. To defend without the ball and open up the pitch and play when you have it.

"When you win a game, the coach can only be happy, and I am happy. What I liked most was the attitude. It's not easy to win 5-0.

"The intention was to go out with the ball from the start and to change the pace. We did that and the important thing is that we will improve.

"I want to enjoy it. I thank the public for the support but they come to see the players and, in return, they've seen the team win.

"I'm sure we'll continue like this. Madrid always have to win. The important thing was the attitude of the team, then we have to improve a lot of things and that's what we'll do.

"It was quite a long day but I'm happy."

Ronaldo set up Bale's second goal but cut a frustrated figure at times in attack as he failed to test German Lux in the Deportivo goal with any regularity, while Bale and Benzema each found the net.

But Zidane was not concerned by Ronaldo's performance, adding: "Cristiano looked very good to me. He always has to score a goal because he likes it, but he looked good. I'm sure that there'll be other games where he scores."

Sergio Ramos was replaced at half-time, with Zidane confirming the Spain international will face further tests on what he described as "a little knock".

Madrid's win took them to within two points of Liga leaders Barcelona, who beat Granada 4-0 earlier on Saturday.