Zinedine Zidane reacts to Cristiano Ronaldo's poor performance against Real Betis
Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane refused to blame star forward Cristiano Ronaldo after the club succumbed to a surprise 1-0 defeat at the hands of Real Betis.
The La Liga holders have had a slow start to the campaign with two wins and two draws in their opening five games, and this sees them five points adrift of league leaders Barcelona.
Ronaldo, 32, made a much-awaited return to the starting lineup on Wednesday night after he served his five-match domestic suspension. However, the Portuguese could not impress up front alongside Gareth Bale, and this resulted in Los Blancos going winless in their first three home games.
When asked on Ronaldo's performance, Zidane said: "No (complaints), nothing. On the contrary, quite the contrary. We are happy to have Cristiano with us and for him to be in the team. I do not regret anything, I always want to win the game. You can make different substitutions, but the idea is the same, to go for the win."
Los Blancos missed a couple of excellent chances to score during the game, but Zidane insisted that the team will remain calm ahead of their weekend trip to Deportivo Alaves, he added: "It's bad. This is football, when the ball just did not want to go in, this can happen. We did not have a great game but neither a bad game."
Real Madrid have surprisingly won their two outings on the road this season, and they are likely to have much trouble getting past Alaves, who are yet to score in the top division this term. Nevertheless, the European champions will have to be wary of any backlash as luck has not favoured them since the start of the domestic season. The game at Alaves may see Zidane rotate his options with Marco Asensio a possible candidate to replace one of Gareth Bale or Isco in the attack front.