Zinedine Zidane hails out-of-form Gareth Bale as 'a complete player'

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has rejected the suggestion that Gareth Bale is only effective on the counter-attack and backed him to get back to top form.

Bale has been whistled by fans at the Bernabeu during a patchy start to the 2017-18 campaign, especially when he failed to find the net during disappointing recent home draws against Levante and Valencia -- teams which sat deep and did not give him space to attack in behind.

While he did score in Sunday's 3-1 La Liga win at Real Sociedad, racing onto a long ball over the top to finish emphatically, some pundits still feel the former Tottenham player is less suited to the more possession-based style introduced by Zidane recently.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of Wednesday's La Liga game at home to Real Betis, the Blancos coach maintained that Bale had no trouble playing more intricate football.

"It is not wrong to say that Bale with space can do damage to any team, with the pace he has," Zidane said. "We saw that in the goal the other day. But having said that Gareth is very good technically, he has no problem playing well in tight areas, linking with the other players. For me, he is a complete player."

Zidane says everyone must have "patience" with Bale as he is not yet 100 percent following last season's injury problems, and added that his own experience was that whistles from the Bernabeu crowd could work as a personal motivation.

"This stadium has whistled everyone -- I do not think there is one player who has not faced it," he said. "But that forms part of a career, and it is good in itself. Not always, but sometimes it is good to realise that you are not doing well.

"I am not talking personally about Bale, but players in general. I had that experience, and I believe it is good. You want to react and play better in the next game, for sure."

Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcelo and Toni Kroos are set to return, but tests have shown that Theo Hernandez has a "partial-dislocation" of his right shoulder so the left-back joins Mateo Kovacic, Karim Benzema and Jesus Vallejo on the injured list.

The midweek fixture gives Madrid a chance to score for a 74th consecutive game and pass the record set by Pele's Santos side in 1963.

"It shows we are going well," Zidane said. "We want to score tomorrow, as to win the game you must score. So we want to keep this great run going.

"The praise for this goes to the players. We know we are capable of scoring in any moment. We do not go out thinking we are already 1-0 up, that would be dangerous for us.

"Just the opposite, we always go out thinking we must score. And that's our plan for tomorrow, to go out with a lot of intensity and try and score as soon as possible."