Madrid, Dec 5 (IANS) Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari on Wednesday defended the reduced playing time given to midfielder Isco Alarcon.
Isco has not been a starter in any match under Solari, whose side is set to host the third-tier Spanish club UD Melilla on Thursday in the second leg of the Copa del Rey round of 32, reports Efe news.
The Argentine coach pointed out that there are 24 players on the first team, plus the players of the Castilla squad, stressing that they all "are working with intensity, enthusiasm and they're excited. That's what we all want to see out on the field against Melilla."
After receiving criticism for his weight and fitness following an appendectomy in September, Isco uploaded on social media a photo of himself without a shirt and attached a poll that asked fans to vote on whether he was overweight or not.
Solari responded to the online poll saying that he, Solari, did not see that photo and that he "does not manage social media networks."
Despite Los Blancos' 4-0 away victory in the first leg of round of 32 Copa del Rey against Melilla, the Argentine coach stressed that his club must not underestimate the upcoming opponent.
"The first leg was very good because we put in a very good performance with a good attitude and intensity, against a team that play very good football and are top of their group in Segunda B," Solari said.
The coach also praised his midfielder Luka Modric, who won the Ballon d'Or trophy Monday, noting that the Croatian player "had a wonderful year and he's given everything to Real Madrid and his national team... We're all very happy with his prize."