Santiago Solari

Santiago Solari refused to allow discussion of Gareth Bale to distract from Real Madrid’s Copa del Rey semi-final second leg against rivals Barcelona.

Bale scored Madrid’s winning goal at Levante on Sunday but, having started on the bench for a second successive game, appeared to pass up the opportunity to celebrate with his team-mates.

Solari insisted after the match that he had enjoyed the “rage” in the Wales star’s performance, but he was less forthcoming when asked about the player on Tuesday.

The Madrid coach considered the matter settled and repeated the same answer every time he was asked about a deeper meaning behind Bale’s actions.

“We have spoken about Gareth,” he told reporters. “We’re focused on the game [on Wednesday]. That’s where all of our attention is.

“It’s a great game. We’ve had to win lots of games to get here. Our focus – the focus of Gareth and all the players – is on [Wednesday], this is clear.

“We’re all united and it’s clear to us what we want to do: to go through to the final. We have to enjoy it. We’ve worked hard to get here, the end of February, still in all of the competitions.”

As the queries persisted, with one journalist making a joke as he approached a different topic, Solari added: “I understand the questions.

“I understand that you want to put your focus on one thing, but our focus is on the important thing for us, which is the game.”

And asked if there had been any discussion with Bale about the incident, the coach replied: “There’s things that have to stay in the dressing room that we keep private.”

Madrid and Barca played out a 1-1 draw in the first leg, Solari’s first Clasico as head coach.

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