BARCELONA (Reuters) - Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said on Friday he will find room to accommodate Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema as well as sparkling Spanish duo Marco Asensio and Isco this season as he looks to create a versatile, unpredictable side.
Forwards Benzema and Bale received the bulk of criticism from supporters and Spanish media for misfiring as Real drew 2-2 with Valencia before the international break, with Asensio salvaging a point with a late free kick.
Asensio has scored four goals in four domestic games this season while Isco built on his stunning recent form with Real with three goals in two games for Spain in their World Cup qualifiers against Italy and Liechtenstein.
Zidane, however, said he has no plans to stick with one fixed formation this campaign, leaving the door open to playing the old ‘BBC’ attacking trio of Bale, Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo one week, while fielding attacking midfielders Asensio and Isco the next.
“Those two (Isco and Asensio) have always been important to me, those two and everyone else. The players and the shape are going to change all the time, and the fundamental thing is that the players feel important,” Zidane told a news conference on Friday ahead of Real’s game with Levante on Saturday.
The Frenchman praised Asensio, 21, for continuing to make strides at Real, although warned him against becoming complacent.
“I‘m not surprised by Asensio, what he brings to the team is phenomenal, but we have to leave him in peace,” he said.
“He needs to stay calm and keep his head down. He hasn’t reached his limit yet, but he needs to stay humble, which he is, but we need to stop making so much noise about him.”
Zidane also backed record signing Bale, who was booed off the pitch by fans against Valencia, to prove his doubters wrong.
“No player is happy when he gets booed but I think he’s doing well, he’s not as bad as people are saying. He’s going to have a very good year.”
Real are still without talisman Ronaldo, who has two games left to serve of his five-game ban for pushing a referee, while Dani Ceballos is injured, although captain Sergio Ramos is available again after completing a suspension.
Real have four points from two games, while Barcelona, Real Sociedad and Leganes have all won both their opening games.
Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Toby Davis