Cape Town - Zinedine
Zidane refused to criticise Gareth Bale on Tuesday after Real Madrid
overcame a poor first-half showing to beat Napoli 3-1 in the Champions
League Round of 16.
Bale was one of several players to look out of sorts early on as the Italians dominated the first period.
Asked whether Bale had neglected his defensive duties, the Madrid head coach replied: "I don't agree at all."
"In the first half, none of us played well," he added.
The 3-1 win saw Madrid advance 6-2 on aggregate to go into the hat for Friday's quarter-final draw.
Zidane, whose side needed two headers from captain Sergio Ramos to
get back into the tie, said he expected his side to show an improvement
"We obviously have to do better. We knew the start here against Napoli would be hard, it's a hard stadium to play at," he added.
"We suffered a lot in the opening half, we didn't get to play the way
we had planned. In the second half we did a lot better, and I'm happy
with the win.
"The fact two of our goals came from corners doesn't matter. It's all part of the game."
Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri sang the praises of Spain defender Ramos:
"He's world class at dead ball situations. He scores seven or eight
goals a year like that. "It doesn't matter whether you man mark him or
mark him in the zone: the problem is not just him."
Sarri, said that in order to compete in future, Napoli would have to match Real in physical and fitness terms.
"It's pretty clear that, in physical terms, we're lacking something compared to teams like Real," he said.
"In the opening half we managed to keep them away from our own area a lot and that compensated somewhat.
"But in the second half, it was more difficult."