Bale insists his style hasn’t changed following ball-hogging incident

Gareth Bale doesn't think he has changed his style of play following criticism after Real Madrid's victory over Espanyol last month.

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Gareth Bale insists he has not succumbed to pressure and changed his style of play in the wake of the ball-hogging incident with Cristiano Ronaldo.

Bale was asked whether his game had altered following the controversial incident in which he opted to shoot rather than pass to the world player of the year in Real’s victory over Espanyol last month.

The episode prompted sections of the Madrid faithful to target Bale with abuse and, in their Champions League last-16 win at Schalke, Bale looked hesitant on a number of occasions when through on goal.

However, speaking after their 2-0 win in Gelsenkirchen, Bale maintained his style of play hadn’t changed and that he felt other players were in better positions than himself.

"I haven’t really adapted my style of play," he told Sky Sports. "In certain games, if a sight of goal has opened up I’ll take it.

"But tonight I think my team-mates were in better positions and I tried to play the ball around."

Real Madrid all-but-sealed their place in the quarter-finals of Europe’s elite-club competition with victory in Germany, as strikes in either half from Ronaldo and Marcelo overcame a resilient display from the home side.

Wednesday’s victory was Real’s second since their 4-0 drubbing to city rivals Atletico, and Bale admits his side are showing signs of the form which saw them crowned European champions last season – form which he believes is vital if they are to become the first side to retain the trophy.

"We’re relieved and over the Atletico result. It wasn’t a great result for us but we’ve bounced back with two wins on the trot and hopefully there will be another one on the weekend and in the return leg," he added.

"It was an amazing goal by Marcelo but it was also important for us to get a second, it gives us a cushion going in the home leg and puts us in a great position.

"We know it’s going to be difficult to retain the Champions League – it was difficult winning it last year. All we can do is take each game as it comes and hope we’re the champions at the end.

"We’re playing with confidence and we’re enjoying our football and when we do that we play our best football. Hopefully we can keep that going.

"We did okay tonight, it was a bit difficult for the players on the pitch but the main thing for us was to get the job done and get a positive result to take back home to the Bernabeu."