Real Madrid boss urges fans to give Bale time to settle

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Carlo Ancelotti has urged Real Madrid fans to be patient with Gareth Bale as he looks to find his way back to full fitness.

Bale was handed a start in Real Madrid's 2-1 defeat against rivals Barcelona on Saturday, but failed to make an impact and was substituted on the hour mark.

The Welshman has struggled with thigh and back injuries since his £86 million switch from Tottenham, and prior to Saturday evening had only racked up 120 minutes of La Liga action in just under two months.

To make matters worse Barcelona's own big-money summer signing Neymar opened the scoring in El Clasico at the Nou Camp.

Ancelotti says he is happy with the level of Bale's performance so far, but insists he needs time to find his feet at the Bernabeu.

"It's true that in the last few games he hasn't done extraordinary things, but a player who arrives at a new team, in a new culture, needs time to adapt," Ancelotti told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope.

"The problem the player has is of adaptation. It's not the same to play in Spain as in England."

Despite his lack of match fitness Bale was thrown in at the deep end in attack against Barcelona alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel di Maria - with Madrid's only senior striker Karim Benzema on the bench.

Ancelotti refutes claims that he was under pressure to field Bale because of his price tag, and insists he considers the former Spurs ace for selection just like any of his other players.

"For me, Bale is a player the same as any other. I think he was a good signing for Real Madrid," he said.

"Bale played because in my opinion he could play and create problems for Barcelona - only because of that.

"I didn't put in Benzema because I didn't want the opposing defenders to have a clear point of reference. Therefore, Bale started on the left and could change position with Di Maria."

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Gareth Bale
Real Madrid
La Liga

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