Real Madrid will face Real Betis on Saturday (15 October) missing a number of key players, with James Rodriguez, Fabio Coentrao, Luka Modric, Casemiro and Sergio Ramos all left out of the squad due to injury concerns. However Marcelo is finally set to return to action and Zinedine Zidane is confident Cristiano Ronaldo and company can cope as Los Blancos attempt to end their four-match winless run.
The Champions League winners were held to successive draws against Villarreal, Las Palmas, Borussia Dortmund and Eibar prior to the international break. Modric, Casemiro, James and Coentrao all missed the game against Eibar, with Ramos since joining them on the treatment table after picking up a knee injury on international duty.
"Sergio's injury is a real pain because it means he's not with us. He is our captain and an important player. He always gives everything out on the pitch. He will do all that he can in order to get back as soon as possible," the Real Madrid boss said in a press conference. "All of the important players are going to have their critics. I feel that they are being unfair to him because he always plays well and gives everything he can."
Zidane will have to once again rotate his squad against Betis with Modric, Casemiro and Ramos all regular starters. However, the French boss welcomed another key player in the shape of Marcelo after the Brazilian left-back took advantage of the international break to step up his recovery from a muscle strain.
"[Marcelo] is ready and that is great news. He is an important player who offers a lot and we will make the most of that tomorrow".
The Real Madrid manager admitted concern over the club's recent bad run. However he backed his players to turn the situation around with a victory against Betis. The Champions League winners are still joint leaders of La Liga, behind Atletico Madrid on goal difference and two points ahead of Barcelona.
"We will do everything possible to get back to winning ways. We need to start strongly and not allow our opposition any opportunities to play their game. It is going to be a complicated match against tough opposition in a difficult stadium," Zidane added.
"The key is to find a solution. there are always going to be difficult moments. I would never consider myself to be a great coach. I do my work as best I can and I look for solutions. I can win the Champions League and still never think that I am the best coach, but I am really eager to learn and every day I learn at this great club despite the complications we might have. What I have to do is to keep on working and face all of the problems along with my players. Nothing more".