Coleman backs Bale at Real

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Bale has been the subject of criticism in Spain as Real went three matches without a win in all competitions until Sunday’s 2-0 La Liga home victory over Levante.

The Wales forward scored both goals in that win which came five days after Real lost 4-3 at home to Schalke, but the holders still progressed to the Champions League quarter-finals.

“I know how it works in Spain,” said former Real Sociedad coach Coleman, who has named Bale in his squad for the European Qualifier in Israel on March 28.

“When you play for Real Madrid, you have to entertain every time you go on to the pitch – win and entertain. So the stakes are high.

“Winning, and not playing well, is not acceptable. They lost to Schalke but went through, and they were booed off.

“As much as they’re saying he’s not been caught up in that, he has definitely been caught in the middle unfortunately for him.”

Coleman believes Bale is showing he has the strength of character to blossom in that pressurised environment, with Real next going to face La Liga leaders Barcelona at the Nou Camp in the season’s second El Clasico.

Real came from 1-0 down in the clubs’ first meeting this season to claim a 3-1 win, but injured Bale was not involved.

And Coleman reckons Bale will love the challenge of helping Real regain top spot in the league from their biggest rivals – Barcelona have a one-point advantage.

“Gareth’s a big boy – he’s come through,” said Coleman. “He got a couple of goals at the weekend. He’ll be fine.”

Coleman also believes that Real coach Carlo Ancelotti is the ideal man to guide Bale through any testing situation.

“The manager he’s playing for is perfect for that situation. Carlo’s mentality is perfect,” said Coleman. “He’s calm, cool and full of confidence.”