Madrid's Hazard needs time to get back to his best, insists Zidane | OneFootball

Madrid's Hazard needs time to get back to his best, insists Zidane

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Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane said Eden Hazard needs time to return to his best and start games after making his return off the bench in Wednesday's draw with Elche.

Hazard was a substitute as LaLiga champions Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw at Elche midweek, having not featured for Los Blancos since injuring his thigh in November.

The Belgium international star, who was an unused substitute against Granada last week, was introduced with 13 minutes remaining and spurned a late chance for Madrid.

"[Eden Hazard] needs time, he needs game time as well and slowly but surely he'll be back in the starting 11," Zidane told reporters.

"I do think we should have scored a second goal in the first half because we played very well [against Elche] and we struggled more in the second half, but we have to keep working hard and moving forward in the same manner we have recently because there's still a lot to play for in LaLiga."

Madrid lost ground on city rivals and LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid after their five-game winning streak in the league came to an end.

Luka Modric had opened the scoring in the 20th minute with his first header for Madrid after 364 games across all competitions, before Fidel's penalty seven minutes into the second half levelled proceedings.

Spanish giants Madrid have hit the woodwork 18 times across all competitions this season, more than any other club in the top five European leagues.

Madrid are two points adrift of Atletico – who have two matches in hand – and Zidane added: "If you base things on how we've been playing recently, that this draw is possibly not as good a result.

"I think we had more than enough chances to get the second goal which would have allowed us to be much more calm on the ball. Their equaliser made the game much more difficult for us. They then sat a bit deeper and we struggled in the second half. But that's football. I can't really say anything else.

"We have to keep working hard. When you look at how we played in the first half this is two points lost but we have to keep looking forward."

Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois made his 100th appearance for the club in all competitions, with 77 of those coming in LaLiga.

"It's three points that have slipped away from us, but we mustn't feel too down because we've been on a very good run and are performing well," said Courtois, who made a late save to deny Elche a dramatic win.

"It wasn't down to being over-confident. They equalised through a penalty, they play some good stuff and defend with two very compact lines close to their box, which makes it difficult to create any sort of danger. We managed to fashion two or three chances that Edgar did well to keep out."