MADRID – Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari says the fans need to get behind the team after they were whistled off following Wednesday's humiliating 3-0 home defeat by CSKA Moscow in the Champions League.
Madrid suffered their heaviest ever home European defeat against CSKA and were given short shrift by angry supporters despite having already qualified for the last 16 as Group G winners.
"I heard applause too the other day. Fans express themselves and that is valid and respectable," Solari told a news conference on Friday when asked about the fans' reaction.
"The team always looks for support and we need it. Through the 115 years (the club has existed) we've made it with unity and the fans backing us. We hope that they help us and push us on."
Madrid, who are fourth in la Liga, host second-bottom local rivals Rayo Vallecano on Saturday and can close the gap on leaders Barcelona to two points with victory.
Solari defended midfielder Isco, who was whistled by Madrid supporters against CSKA.
"Isco is a mature man, a professional who has brought a lot of joy here and we are sure that he will keep bringing that," said Solari, who has not started the playmaker in a single league match since taking over at the end of October.
"Everyone's working as hard as possible to be available for the team, the hardest thing is choosing the starting side, those who sit on the bench, those who don't make it.
"That's the hardest thing because they are all good. It's a tough job. There are no maths that work, someone always has to be left out."
Forward Gareth Bale hurt his ankle against CSKA Moscow although he was not taken off after receiving treatment.
"We will see (about Bale,) it's a question of rest because it's an ankle problem. We will see how he recovers," said Solari.
"We will speak about it with the medics and with him and we will ponder it."AFP