Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane says he does not feel he made a mistake by playing Gareth Bale in the Clasico after the club confirmed he has a calf injury that is expected to rule him out of the Champions League semifinals.
Bale limped off early during Sunday's 3-2 La Liga defeat at home to Barcelona with what is the 17th different injury of his four seasons in Spain, and tests have now shown a Grade 2 problem in his left calf muscle.
The Wales international is now expected to miss both legs of the Champions League semifinal clash with Atletico Madrid next month as well as a significant part of the run-in in La Liga, which could go down to the wire with Barca currently top on head-to-head record but Madrid having a game extra to play.
Zidane told his prematch news conference ahead of Wednesday's game at Deportivo La Coruna that Bale had been fully fit to start against Barca and that this latest issue could be a consequence of having missed three months earlier in the season following an ankle operation.
"[Bale] is the first one unhappy with what happened, but he told me he was at 100 percent, that the two training sessions before the game were perfect, with no problems at all," Zidane said. "I trust everything my players tell me.
"Then this has happened. We cannot avoid it. The player wants to play. When you have a very long injury, when you return it is difficult. Maybe at the start you are good, but when you train every day you pick up another problem.
"It is not a big injury. We hope we have him back soon, before the end [of the season]."
With club captain Sergio Ramos suspended following his sending-off for felling Barca's Lionel Messi on Sunday, Zidane suggested that Raphael Varane will come straight back into the starting XI as he had fully recovered from a long-standing hamstring problem.
"[Varane] will be with us. He is good, physically very good, has trained normally," he said. "Although you will see the XI tomorrow. The management of injuries is very good here, and he will be fine tomorrow. Injuries happen -- it is part of a player's life. Nobody can do anything about that."
Zidane said criticism from local pundits following their Clasico defeat could further motivate Madrid to go on to win a first La Liga title in five seasons.
"We lost three points and tomorrow we have three more to play for again," he said. "We are just thinking about that game now. Everyone can give their opinions. People are saying now Barca will win La Liga, Madrid are worth nothing, but I know perfectly it is not like that.
"[With] 16, 17 years in Madrid, 25 years in football, I know how these things are. When we lose we have to know how to accept the criticism.
"Sometimes that can motivate you even more. We have our destiny in our hands, do not depend on anyone else. From now until the end of the season it will be the same -- six Liga games and maximum three in Champions League. We will give everything we can."