Real Madrid stumbled to a 1-1 La Liga draw at Leganes on Monday, the latest disappointing result in a nightmare season for the European champions.
Zinedine Zidane’s side, who are third in the table and 13 points behind leaders Barcelona, were uninspired against local rivals Leganes.
Madrid put in the kind of lethargic performance which has plagued their season, with Marco Asensio and Raphael Varane missing good first-half chances.
“For me as coach, and them as players, we must keep trying to play better,” Zidane said. “We can play better, and we must play better. The first half was not so good, the second half a bit better. Even if this might have been a bad season, we must all give a bit more.”
Karim Benzema equalised at the start of the second half and Marcelo saw a shot tipped away as Madrid enjoyed a short period in ascendancy.
Leganes, 11th in the table, went close to winning the game but Youssef En-Nesyri had a goal correctly disallowed for offside.
Asked if Benzema annoyed by persistent talk that the Bernabeu hierarchy would sign a new striker this summer, Zidane said: “I don’t know — you’d have to ask him about that.”
“[Benzema] is used to that, new players coming,” Zidane said. “But he has shown his personality and that’s it. He is a fantastic player and this year what has changed is that he has scored many more goals, so I am happy for him.”
A Madrid player whose future remains uncertain is Welsh galactico Gareth Bale, who made little impression during a late run as a substitute.
“[Bale] is an important player of the squad,” Zidane said. “He has played three of the last four games, I think. Today I wanted to make a change, that’s all. Playing 10 or 15 minutes is difficult for those who come into the game, it was the same with Lucas [Vazquez]. We make the changes to win the game, and we did not do that today.”
Information from Reuters and ESPN FC’s Dermot Corrigan was used in this report.
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