Bale plays down Ronaldo absence

Gareth Bale has suggested that Real Madrid’s style of play did not suffer because Cristiano Ronaldo was unavailable for their Champions League draw with Manchester City.

Zinedine Zidane’s side took more of a cautious approach at the Etihad Stadium, failing to register a shot on target in the first half, with Ronaldo’s absence appearing to significantly hinder the Liga title hopefuls.

But Bale has played down suggestions that Madrid’s rhythm was disrupted as a result of the Portuguese being missing from the line-up, insisting that Los Blancos always work as a team and “get on with it”, regardless of who is picked to play.

He told BT Sport: “No I don’t think so [Madrid’s rhythm wasn’t affected by Ronaldo’s absence]. I don’t think so at all. Obviously we knew Cris was injured this afternoon and Karim [Benzema] had a little problem at half-time, but the players who come in do a fantastic job. We are all united together, work as a team and just get on with it.”

Bale also feels he should have had a penalty after clashing with Nicolas Otamendi in the box but insists his side are happy with the performance and result that sets up a mouthwatering second leg.

“Yeah that was definitely a foul [by Otamendi] but what can you do? The referee didn’t seem to give us a lot,” he added.

“For us to keep a clean sheet here is very important. We’d have liked to have nicked a goal but it wasn’t to be. It was a cagey match at the start, like I predicted and like it normally is.

“It opened up in the second half and we were unlucky not to get a few penalties. But we’re happy with the performance and we’ll look forward to the second leg at the Bernabeu.”

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