Zidane lacking options after failure to replace Morata

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Zinedine Zidane has accepted that he is short on numbers in attack because Real Madrid failed to replace Alvaro Morata after he made clear his desire to leave the Santiago Bernabeu.

Spain international Morata left Madrid for Chelsea in July after growing frustrated with playing second fiddle to Karim Benzema.

Since leaving, Morata has attracted considerable praise for his promising start to life at Stamford Bridge, scoring three goals and laying on another two in four Premier League appearances.

Zidane revealed that he wanted Morata to stay, but the forward had already made up his mind, with his departure leaving only Borja Mayoral as cover for Benzema, who is out for about a month with a hamstring injury.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday's Champions League opener with APOEL, Zidane said: "In the end, it's true that when you look at the players we had, like Morata and Mariano [Diaz], now when you look, you only see Mayoral.

"You may think that we are lacking a 'number nine', and maybe we are. But in the end it was not possible to get one.

"Most crucial was the situation of Morata. I would have liked him to stay, but you have to understand that he wanted to play more and wanted to leave. In the end we couldn't get another player.

"I believe a lot in Mayoral. He is young, has desire and is hungry. We have Karim, but he's out.

"It's true that Gareth Bale can play there, but he's more of a winger. We're going to deal with the players we have and we're going to do well, I'm convinced."

Zidane is yet to decide on whether youngster Mayoral gets the nod to replace Benzema on Wednesday or if the returning Cristiano Ronaldo will take up a central role.

"Tomorrow we have a game and you'll see then," said the Frenchman. "Maybe it'll be a new option. We know how we're going to play tomorrow, though."