Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has insisted that Karim Benzema remains his first-choice striker despite the Frenchman's profligacy in front of goal in recent weeks.
The former Olympique Lyonnais forward has failed to find the net in Madrid's last five La Liga encounters and was recently whistled by his own fans at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Nevertheless, Ancelotti is satisfied with the attacker's performances and has no intention to drop him any time soon.
"Benzema has his place within the team and remains our starting forward," the Blancos boss stated at a press conference.
"He has not scored in our past few games, but I have faith in me. I haven't spoken with him after our last game because he doesn't need that."
The Italian coach then went on to praise Angel Di Maria in light of the Argentine's fine performances so far this season.
"Di Maria has been doing very well," the Champions League winner enthused. "He scored twice this week when he played higher up the pitch.
"One of his biggest assets is that he can play in many different positions. He is a very versatile player and that's pretty useful."
Ancelotti also had his say on Raphael Varane after his comeback from injury, and stressed that the centre-back's return will increase the competition for places in defence.
"The most important thing is that he's back from injury again," the 54-year-old trainer stated. "He did very well and always remained calm.
"His return will increase competition for places."