Carlo Ancelotti defends Gareth Bale after Real Madrid fan whistles

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti was again forced to defend Gareth Bale after the Welshman's mixed performance in Saturday's 4-1 La Liga win over Real Sociedad at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

Starting the game without the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo, Madrid had an early scare when the visitors Aritz Elustondo headed David Moyes' visiting side ahead after just 38 seconds, but James Rodriguez soon equalised with his own header and the home side were back in control.

Sergio Ramos made it 2-1 before the break, and a second-half brace from Karim Benzema ensured that Madrid remain clear atop the table, having played one game fewer than challengers Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

However, the game did not go entirely to plan for Bale, who unselfishly set up Benzema's first goal but was also whistled by some of his own team's fans after two relatively simple misses.

Ancelotti denied after the match, though, that he had expected a better showing from Bale in Ronaldo's absence.

"I do not want more from [Bale]," he told his postmatch news conference. "He played very well. It is true he missed two chances, but he has given an assist to Benzema for the 3-1. He works for his teammates."

Ancelotti also had praise for Benzema, whose second goal was a superb curling shot from the edge of the box.

"[Benzema] played a fantastic game, like the rest of the forwards," he said. "They have a lot of quality and were very effective. They have shot many times at goal. The goal [Benzema] scored was high quality. He is a forward with a fantastic shot."

Former Real Sociedad midfielder Asier Illarramendi got a rare start against his old team, and had a difficult afternoon, although he was defended by his coach.

"[Illarramendi] began poorly in the first 30 minutes," Ancelotti said, "but then he played a very good second half."

Ancelotti said new signing Lucas Silva had not been ready to feature in the game but would offer Madrid options in a number of midfield positions.

"[Lucas Silva] is a player with defensive characteristics, but with a very good pass and good shot," he said. "He is used to playing in a 'double pivot' in his team. He could play in [Toni] Kroos' position, or also get used to playing where Illarramendi played today, just to the side."

Ancelotti admitted that, with next weekend's derby at Atletico Madrid looming, he could rotate his side for Wednesday's re-arranged home La Liga fixture against Sevilla.

"We have to look at the effort we made in this game," he said. "We have three days before another very important game. We have a chance to build a lead over Atletico and Barcelona, and we could do that with fresh players."