Madrid, May 5 (IANS) Real Madrid’s star forward Gareth Bale has praised coach Zinedine Zidane saying he has given the outfit freedom and belief since taking over the reins midway during the season.
Bale forced an own goal from Manchester City defender Fernando in the 20th minute of their Champions League second leg semi-final match here on Wednesday to help Real Madrid win 1-0 and advance to the final.
They will now have a face off against Atletico Madrid at San Siro stadium in Milan on May 28.
Zidane, a club legend in his playing days, took over from the sacked Rafael Benitez midway in the current season after some performances.
“He’s (Zidane) given us that belief and freedom to go out and express ourselves and enjoy ourselves,” Bale was quoted as saying by UEFA’s official website on Thursday.
“When players can do that you see the best of them.”
Bale, however, said that his goal which proved to be the winner eventually was a lucky strike as it took a crucial deflection of a City defender to go past goalkeeper Joe Hart.
“I went to cross, but obviously it doesn’t matter however the ball goes in the back of the net,” he said.
“We’re very happy and the most important thing is we’re in the final. We’re very excited to get to the final. We’re going to enjoy this result. It was a very difficult two-legged game against Manchester City.”
The Wales international added that it was a very professional performance from the Spanish heavyweights.
“But we’re very happy that we kept two clean sheets and nicked a goal to get into the final. It was a very professional performance. We’ve really worked together as a team and that showed again tonight,” he said.
The 26-year-old was also delighted with his own performance in the game.
“I enjoy taking responsibility on the pitch,” he said. “Hopefully I can keep doing it, keep improving and putting in good performances.”