Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane was non-committal when asked about Gareth Bale's future at the Bernabeu and said that some strong words at half-time led to his team coming from behind to beat Eibar 2-1 in Saturday's La Liga clash at the Bernabeu.
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The Los Blancos coach admitted at the post-game news conference that his team had been told at the break that they needed to do more, but gave the credit to the players for battling together to turn the game around.
"I will not tell you what I said at half-time, but a coach is very important in difficult moments," Zidane said. "We had to change for the second 45 minutes. As we could not continue like the first half. We changed and played more as a team. We ran more, were together, and the second half was completely different to the first half.
"The first half we lacked confidence, above all at the start of the game, which was very difficult. In the end, we must congratulate the players -- who showed pride and changed things by running together, fighting together."
Zidane admitted that his players were affected by Madrid's strange situation this season -- eliminated from the Champions League and Copa del Rey and already out of the running in La Liga with a month-and-a-half still to play.
"The situation is difficult," he said. "This season we will not win anything, we know that, and playing for nothing is difficult, and all that is said outside does not help. But the players have to accept this situation. Not look for excuses. We will come out of this situation bit by bit, insisting in working hard, thinking positively, and nothing more. The second half they upped things today. We have seven games left and will have to keep battling as a team."
Among Madrid's worst performers in the first half was reportedly-unsettled galactico Bale, who was whistled even before missing an early one-on-one with Eibar keeper Marko Dmitrovic.
Asked to confirm that Bale would be at the Bernabeu next season, Zidane would not say.
"We will see," he said. "Gareth is a Real Madrid player, with two years left on his contract."