Zinedine Zidane has suggested that Raphael Varane could return to action when Real Madrid visit Deportivo la Coruña on Wednesday night (26 April). Meanwhile, the French boss has expressed his disapproval at the criticism he has received in the aftermath of the 3-2 defeat to Barcelona in El Clasico.

Varane, 24, is yet to play a game since the win over Alaves on 2 April, being forced off in the 10<sup>th minute of the game. He had only just returned to action following a separate six-week spell on the sidelines.

The France international has been training with the rest of his teammates since last week but was left out of the squad to face Barcelona as Zidane thought the game would come too early for him.

Real Madrid were hit by a further blow in El Clasico after Gareth Bale suffered a recurrence of another injury earlier in the game, which is expected to keep him out of action for around three weeks.

Zidane has been questioned over his decision to play Bale against Barcelona amid suggestions the Welshman was not fully fit.

However, Zidane has hit back at those critics and said that Bale's injury won't affect his decision to play Varane against Deportivo if he considers the centre-back to be fit.

"He's no longer in pain. He's training with us and he'll be with us tomorrow. He's good physically and has trained normally. You'll see the line-up tomorrow," Zidane said in the press conference ahead of the trip to Coruña. "There is no mismanagement. The management is very good. Tomorrow Varane will be fine and if a player gets injured, that's it, it's part of the game. We try to get the players right, but injuries are part of a player's life."

Nevertheless, Zidane may have no choice but to play Varane as Pepe remains on the sidelines and Sergio Ramos is suspended after being shown the red card in El Clasico for a two-footed tackle on Lionel Messi.

Real Madrid looked on course to win the La Liga title and Champions League double last week when they qualified for the European semi-finals by beating Bayern Munich. They arrived at Sunday's El Clasico with a three-point gap over Barcelona and one game in hand.

However, the defeat to the Catalans has put the destination of the title up in the air, with the Catalans now top of La Liga on goal difference.

Zidane pointed out that Real Madrid still have one game in hand to turn the situation around and expressed his surprise at how quickly Spanish pundits have targeted him following a bad result.

"These things happen. It would have been better not to have lost, but in the end there were three points. We lost them but tomorrow we have three new points to fight for and we're only thinking about that game. Now they're only saying that Barcelona will win the league and Real Madrid are not worth anything. I know – and so do you – that this is not true. We can't prevent people from talking. I tell my players that we don't have to change anything in what we're doing. We must continue working hard and moving forward. You can lose games in football," the Real Madrid boss said.

"I would not change anything at all. We had a great game. Mistakes were made, but I'll not change anything. We took a risk in what we did. In the eyes of the rest of the world, the two teams had a great game. They won and that's it. I don't like to lose, but I'll not change anything,"

"I don't feel obliged to anything, only in giving our best every day. That's our obligation. In football you can't speculate. We have our destiny in our hands, we're not relying on anyone and we'll try to do our best to win tomorrow."