Bale: Build on Roma victory
Gareth Bale has borne the brunt of criticism for Real Madrid's recent decline, but the Welsh forward hopes their 2-0 win at Roma yesterday morning (Singapore time) to seal top spot in the Champions League Group G can act as the catalyst to turn their faltering campaign around.
Bale, 29, has failed to score in his last nine league appearances and came in for scathing criticism following last Saturday's stunning 3-0 loss at Eibar, the three-time defending European champions' fifth league defeat of the season.
He gave the ball away 20 times against the Basque side and registered just one shot on goal, with an online survey by Spanish daily Marca revealing that Real fans did not want him to start in the Italian capital.
Rather like his team, though, he rose to the occasion in the Champions League and after a mixed first-half display, Bale broke the deadlock with his third goal in four European outings, later helping set up Lucas Vazquez to seal victory.
"The manager told us at halftime we needed to keep playing the way we know. And in the second half, we played very well, played the ball like we normally do. We got some confidence back and need to build on that now," Bale said.
Real coach Santiago Solari was pleased that his side responded well to a scare which almost saw them go behind on the stroke of halftime, when Cengiz Under produced a glaring miss after a mistake by Dani Carvajal.
"They had one incredible chance after an error of ours, which we talked about in the dressing room. In the second half, we improved with our accuracy," he said.
Real will finish top of Group G regardless of the results in the final round of fixtures due to a better head-to-head record over Roma. - REUTERS