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Notes & Quotes: January 4, 2019

Vazquez believes Real will still succeed, Solari blames loss on Bale’s injury and Mijatovic claims Bale is not a leader

Villarreal CF v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Vazquez reacts to Villarreal draw

Lucas Vazquez was interviewed after Real Madrid’s draw to Villarreal on Thursday. Despite Real giving up a late equalizer and only achieving one point from the match, Vazquez believes the club can still find success this season.

“We head home angry because it was a game we wanted to win and we let it slip with a lapse in concentration.”

“The game was going how we wanted it to at 2-1, and they leveled with 82 minutes gone. We didn’t have time to react and we go away with a bitter taste in our mouths having dropped two points.”

“We struggled to play through their press in the second half and so we were sat deeper, and they got a chance and scored their goal.”

“Given this team’s recent history, we deserve to retain people’s faith in us. We’re going to give it our all like we do every year and come the end, I’m sure we’ll achieve great things. We’ve got another game on Sunday to do the best we can.”

Many complaints will be put towards Vazquez not making a wide-open pass to Benzema, which would have surely sealed a win for Real. Despite that, there are many that hold blame for not being able to produce more against Villarreal.

Real must now surely win their match against Real Sociedad on Sunday to keep up in this title race. The frustration will only grow should Real fail to capture necessary points and Barcelona keeps moving from the pack.

Solari blames Bale injury for late draw

Santiago Solari was interviewed by Movistar after Real’s match against Villarreal. He blamed Bale’s late injury and substitution as a culprit for why Real were unable to capture all three points.

“We had the victory in our hand and wanted to kill the game. But they came back and got the equalizer. They pressed a lot, were playing at home and needed the points.”

“Gareth leaving like that cost us as he had a problem and we missed that counter-attacking edge, and Gareth is a specialist at just that. “

“You would have seen what happened. He got a bang and felt something and was not able to continue.”

Now, Solari is not blaming Bale so much as he’s clearly saying that his presence was missed once he was subbed off due to injury. Losing Bale certainly hurt for the remainder of the match, and it will hurt as he is likely to miss Sunday’s fixture.

While Bale’s injury is definitely a gripe to be had, there were very clearly many other disappointments in the match that will be addressed after the next quotes.

Mijatović claims Bale is not a leader

Predrag Mijatović was interviewed by El Larguero after Real’s draw and Bale’s injury during the match. He took part of the time to address Bale’s injury and how he is not a leader at Real Madrid.

“It’s a shame about Bale.”

“I like him, but he is nowhere near being a leader at a team like Real Madrid after Cristiano’s exit. It is worrying that he injures himself so often.”

So, I particularly have a few problems with Mijatović’s comments here. First off, I can’t stand how this club eats their own when they struggle. Certainly it’s because of Bale’s comments about the club playing more as a team without Ronaldo and that he is ready to step up. Unfortunately, there’s not much to do about injuries, it’s not as if he’s doing it to spite the club.

It seems like Bale is always the one that people throw under the bus first, certainly because he is the best quality forward they have right now with Ronaldo gone to Juventus. And there has always seemed to be an agenda of sorts against him because he doesn’t speak Spanish and because of his injuries. I think, especially given the injury history, that it was completely unrealistic from the start to expect Bale to be on Ronaldo or Messi’s level.

Without injury, I truly believe Gareth Bale is a top-5 world talent, which makes it even more frustrating when you see him injured. That being said, there’s really nothing to be mad at because he can’t help the calf injuries he consistently sustains. While there have been shortcomings in LaLiga, Bale has contributed the most for the club during the Champions League so far this season.

I find particular blame in not just Bale, but also many of the clubs other leaders, specifically Ramos and Marcelo, who put up woeful defending against Villarreal on Thursday. And it hasn’t just been against Villarreal, both Ramos and Marcelo have had trouble with their defense all season.

I also find blame with an underwhelming attack, aside from the criticisms many have had against Benzema and Bale. Asensio hasn’t proven at all that he is the next big player for this club and Vazquez is not a starter despite his flashes of it. It’s also concerning when the club’s one major signing after Ronaldo’s departure, Mariano, has barely played because he’s been injured the last two months.

Yes, it is absolutely concerning with Bale’s injuries. However, other than complaining or selling him this summer, which still would require a replacement for himself and Ronaldo, there’s not much to be done the remainder of this season. It’s been done to death, but this club needs a player of Hazard or Neymar’s quality this summer to properly replace Ronaldo. Simply put, they don’t necessary make additions, they don’t compete.

Bale and his nagging injuries are but one concern of this club. Whether something is addressed this month or not, they need to do something to at least try and fix things somewhat. Rant over, we move on to a Sunday match where hopefully Real can pick up a win and regroup a bit.

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