Zinedine Zidane Will Not Alter Real Madrid's Style In The Absence Of Gareth Bale

25 November 2016 04:51

Zinedine Zidane insists he will not alter Real Madrid's style of play in the absence of injured forward Gareth Bale.

The unbeaten LaLiga leaders welcome struggling Sporting Gijon to the Bernabeu on Saturday afternoon as they attempt to increase their four-point lead over second-placed Barcelona.

Their title challenge must continue without Bale though after he was ruled out for around four months with an ankle problem sustained in the midweek Champions League win at Sporting Lisbon.

Head coach Zidane is keen to see the Wales international return quickly but told reporters at his pre-match press conference that the injury, which could open the door for James Rodriguez, will not affect his tactics.

"I hope he recovers fast," the Frenchman said. "We asked the opinion of all the best specialists and everyone said we should operate. That's what we'll do.

"I know some may think we are going to change the system because we have an injured player but the dynamics on the field will be the same. There are many players who can occupy several positions and that's good for the team."

There is also a boost on the injury front for Real with the return of Brazil international midfielder Casemiro for the first time since he fractured a leg at Espanyol in September, while Portugal defender Pepe has regained fitness.

Los Blancos go into the game in fine form, with last weekend's 3-0 derby demolition of city rivals Atletico their fifth successive league victory.

In contrast, 18th-placed opponents Sporting have not won in nine games, but Zidane believes the match is far from a formality following his players' exertions against Atletico and in Europe.

"The game will be more complicated than people think because it is played after two huge games in which we are all just a little tired," Zidane added.

"The important thing is to think that we are doing well. We will continue on our way and try to do our best because it is very complicated after the last two games, where we made much effort."

Sevilla could temporarily climb above champions Barcelona into second with victory over Valencia later on Saturday.

Los Rojiblancos coach Jorge Sampaoli has called for his players to be more ruthless in front of goal ahead of the game at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

"Hopefully the time remaining before Christmas allows us to find the goals because if not, every game will be stressful," he told the club's official website.

"It's a tough game; Valencia have great staff, a very good coach and the match will surely be very difficult for us."

Elsewhere on Saturday, Malaga welcome Deportivo to La Rosaleda and Leganes go to Espanyol.

Luis Enrique's Barca travel to fifth-placed Real Sociedad on Sunday after dropping points for the fourth time this campaign in last weekend's goalless draw at home to Malaga.

In Sunday's other games, Atletico Madrid play at second-bottom Osasuna, fourth-placed Villarreal host Alaves and bottom club Granada travel to Celta Vigo. Athletic Bilbao face Las Palmas in Gran Canaria on Monday.

Source: PA-WIRE