MADRID, Spain, January 10 -Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti defended his Welsh superstar Gareth Bale after he was whistled by sections of the home support during the European champions 3-0 win over Espanyol on Saturday.
Bale contributed to James Rodriguez’s opener and then struck a wonderful free-kick to put the hosts 2-0 in front at half-time.
However, the Bernabeu faithful were less than happy when shortly after Madrid had been reduced to 10 men by Fabio Coentrao’s red card, Bale squandered an easy chance to make it 3-0 with Cristiano Ronaldo waiting for a tap in.
“Bale played a very good game. He had intensity, he scored, he helped in the first goal. I thought he played very well,” said Ancelotti.
“It could be in this moment the fans asked for a pass to Cristiano that he didn’t make because, like all strikers in front of goal, they try to score.
“The altruism of this team is very important, if there is someone who is being selfish we will fix it.
“We have fans that demand a lot and this is good. Bale is a fundamental player like Cristiano and that is why the fans demand more of them.”
Right-back Nacho eventually sealed the three points with his first goal for the club, but Bale’s error meant Ronaldo went scoreless for the first time in a league match that he has started at the Bernabeu since September 2013.
Bale was also criticised in the Spanish media for failing to pass to Ronaldo or Karim Benzema when he fluffed his lines at a crucial point in Madrid’s 2-1 defeat to Valencia last weekend.
“We don’t need to make a big deal of it,” stressed Ancelotti.
“It is a moment that happens many times. The relationship between the players is very good and not just between Gareth and Cristiano. The team has shown for a long time that the relationship is good between all the players.”
Madrid’s attention now turns to trying to overturn a 2-0 first leg deficit against Atletico Madrid in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey on Thursday.
Ancelotti’s men have failed to beat Atletico in four attempts this season, but did beat them 3-0 at the Bernabeu in the Cup last season and the Italian believes a repeat of that result is possible.
“We have time to prepare well. We’ll play our strongest team because we want to turn around the result of the first leg and try our best to get to the quarter-finals.
“I think everyone is waiting for this game. It is difficult for us but we are going to play our best and playing at home will help us.”