Madrid’s Hazard needs time to return to his best level, insists Zidane

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Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said Eden Hazard needs time to get back to his best level and start the games after his return from the bench in Wednesday’s draw with Elche.

Hazard was a substitute, as LaLiga champions Madrid drew 1-1 in Elche midweek, without having played with Los Blancos since injuring his thigh in November.

The Belgian international star, who was an unused substitute against Granada last week, was introduced with 13 minutes to go and turned down a late opportunity for Madrid.

“[Eden Hazard] he needs time, he also needs playing time and little by little he will return to the starting eleven, ”Zidane told reporters.

“I think we should have scored a second goal in the first half because we played very well. [against Elche] and we have fought more in the second half, but we have to keep working hard and keep going in the same way we have done recently because there is still a lot to play in LaLiga ”.

Madrid lost ground to city rivals and LaLiga leader Atlético de Madrid following the end of their streak of five consecutive league wins.

Luka Modric had opened the scoring in the 20th minute with his first header for Madrid after 364 games in all competitions, before Fidel’s penalty seven minutes into the second half leveled the process.

Madrid, the Spanish giant, have hit wood 18 times in all competitions this season, more than any other club in the top five European leagues.

Madrid are two points behind Atlético – which has two games in hand – and Zidane added: “If you base things on how we’ve been playing recently, this draw might not be that good.

“I think we had more than enough chances to score the second goal, which would have allowed us to be much more relaxed on the ball. His draw made the game much more difficult for us. Then they sat a little deeper and we struggled in the second half. But that’s football. I can’t really say anything else.

“We have to keep working hard. When you look at how we played in the first half, it’s two points lost, but we have to keep looking forward.

Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois played his 100th game with the club in all competitions, 77 of them in LaLiga.

“There are three points that have escaped us, but we should not feel too depressed because we have had a very good run and we are doing well,” said Courtois, who made a late stop to deny Elche a dramatic victory.

“It wasn’t about being overconfident. They drew through a penalty, play very well and defend with two very compact lines near their area, which makes it difficult to create any kind of danger. We managed to create two or three chances that Edgar was right to keep out. “

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