London: Wales manager Chris Coleman has rallied to the defence of forward Gareth Bale by accusing his Real Madrid teammates of deliberately ignoring him on the pitch.
Real Madrid's Gareth Bale
Bale, 25, has endured a difficult second season in Madrid, coming under fire from fans and the media, and lost a key ally on Monday when Carlo Ancelotti was sacked as manager.
Bale came in for particularly sharp criticism after Madrid's loss to Juventus in the Champions League semi-finals, but Coleman said the focus on the former Tottenham Hotspur player was unfair.
"He was heavily criticised after that first leg, but I am seeing him in great positions and not receiving the ball from certain players," Coleman said in comments published by several British newspapers yesterday.
"My assistant Osian (Roberts) called me up and I told him, 'I know what you are going to say — they are not giving him the ball.'
"It wasn't Carlo Ancelotti's fault. It is down to the players on the pitch and it looked to me like he was being overlooked. You can only do what you do best.
With us, when he is in good positions we make sure we give it to him. In Madrid I did not see that and it was not because he was not working hard."