Gareth Bale Explains Why Real Madrid Perform Better in the Champions League

Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale has hinted that his side have a natural desire to perform in the UEFA Champions League as opposed to La Liga, following Los Merengues’ ​2-0 triumph over Roma at the Stadio Olimpico.

Their victory in the Champions League group game came courtesy of strikes from Bale and Lucas Vázquez, which sealed them the top spot in Group B with a game in hand.

However, despite securing their place in the knockout stages, Los Blancos have had mixed fortunes in the league, losing five of their 13 games.

They were surprisingly beaten ​3-0 on the weekend against minnows Eibar, (a result that left them six points behind league leaders Sevilla, in sixth) and Bale implied that the reason for the stark contrast in the club’s performance is because European sides aim to play attacking football, unlike their Spanish counterparts, who seek to frustrate Real.

Eibar v Real Madrid - La Liga Santander

As quoted by Real Madrid’s official website, Bale said: “It’s a different competition compared to La Liga,” he remarked. “It’s a different style of football and you face teams that want to play football. It just comes naturally to us, it’s difficult to explain.

Two second-half strikes from Bale and Lucas Vázquez sealed the three points for Madrid against Roma, as both sides booked a place in the last 16, courtesy of CSKA Moscow’s defeat to Viktoria Plzeň earlier that night.

Bale, who netted the opener two minutes into the second half, was pleased with Los Blancos’ display in the latter part of the match, but indicated that there was still room for improvement.

Our target was to progress and finish top of the group and we’ve done just that,” he said. “We’ve got to improve and keep on fighting and winning games. We’ve got a new coach and we’ve got to give ourselves some time.”

​Madrid were well below par in the first-half and should have fallen behind on the stroke of half-time, when Cengiz Ünder blazed over the bar from close-range. However, the former ​Tottenham Hotspur player suggested that their second-half display was much better.

AS Roma v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League

“We knew it’d be a tough game against difficult opponents. The games last 90 minutes,” he added. “Our first-half performance wasn’t as good, but we knew that if we battled on, we’d have some chances and we performed really well in the second half.”

The victory over Roam ensured that the Champions League title-holders progressed into the next round for the 16th consecutive season.