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Real Madrid's reserves prove rotations are reliable

Much was made of the fact that Real made nine changes for the Leganés match on Wednesday night.  There will almost certainly be another re-shuffle against Atlético.

SD Eibar v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Of the nine changes that Zinedine Zidane made to the Real Madrid side that faced Leganés on Wednesday, all the players brought in were recognised members of the current first team squad.

From the way that this was reported in the media you could be forgiven for thinking that Zidane had fielded nine untried sixteen-year olds instead of regular senior players.

Europe's Sky Sports commentators frequently referred to the team as 'Real Madrid B' throughout the match but as all Madridistas are well aware, each and every player who took the field against Asier Garitano's side had first team experience beforehand.

It wasn't as if anyone was making their debut either. As internationals in their own right, none of the starting eleven against Leganés could be considered 'reserves' and all of them would walk into most other clubs' first teams.

You would have expected Zidane to make changes for the Leganés game because to put it simply, that's what he does.

It is a nice position for Zidane to find himself where he is able to do that. In fact with so few injuries at the moment, things could be a lot worse. As the build up to Atlético on Saturday afternoon continues, he's not going to be too worried overall.

Provided that he gets the result he wants and they don't pick up any more injuries in the weeks to come, Zidane will be one happy coach.

There aren't many clubs who can field sides like Real did on Wednesday night and at the same time still demontrate the amount of resilience shown when Leganés threatened to make a comeback from three goals down!

This just goes to show how important having a reliable squad is. Zidane himself has stated that it is not just the number of players in his squad that matters, it is being able to use them effectively that counts.

The importance of having people who can just step into the team at a minute's notice was emphasised by the coach having to make a change after only ten minutes against Alavés last weekend.

It just so happened that it was Dani Carvajal who came on to replace the unfortunate Raphaël Varane. But let's not dwell on that, however, since we know that injuries can recurr and sometimes these things can't be helped.

Hamstring muscles are prone to repeated injuries as anyone who has suffered with these will testify and sometimes even with the best preparation possible these things just happen.

Raphaël had trained at a high intensity for a good couple of weeks beforehand and appeared to be well prepared for his return. Everyone seemed happy; and there's a huge difference between coming back properly from injury and just taking a player's word for it that he is 'fine'.

''Defying medical opinion' is the common expression used when somebody makes a comeback against medical advice; but in Varane's case everything had been done in conjunction with the medical and fitness teams and he still suffered a relapse.

It just shows the difference between training and playing at that level and how you cannot 100% legislate for the unexpected.

As far as the Atlético game goes, Zidane will already have prepared for anything unexpected from the visitors. Based on previous encounters, though, Real's opponents are unlikely to change their style for Saturday's match and Diego Simone's side are likely to be consistent in their approach.

Real's squad are starting to come together just at the right time. With the important stage of the season now upon us, it is evident that Zinedine Zidane is able to make a number of changes to the starting eleven without disrupting the flow.

He'll be able to sleep easily at night knowing that the winning mentality is not affected by injury or suspensions and that everyone is on the same wavelength.

If nothing else Real are now showing a level of consistency that reflects Zidane's heavily-discussed rotational policy. Real Madrid 'B'? I don't think so.

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