Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti admits that the club have yet to see the best of Gareth Bale, but called for fans to be patient with the winger.
The Welshman joined the Spanish club from Tottenham in a world record €100million deal in September, but he has failed to set the Primera Division alight since his record-breaking move.
The 24-year-old has been plagued by niggling injuries since moving to the Bernabeu, with a persistent thigh problem limiting him to six appearances in all competitions so far.
His latest outing came in Real's disappointing 2-1 defeat to rivals Barcelona in the first Clasico of the season on Saturday, a match in which Bale didn’t really have an impact.
But while Ancelotti is aware that his new signing has yet to show his undoubted potential in Spain, he says that it will take time for the player to become accustomed to his new surroundings.
"Gareth Bale hasn't played extremely well, but a player of his calibre needs time to adapt," the coach told Spanish radio station Cadena COPE.
"The problem the player has is of adaptation. It's not the same to play in Spain as in England.”
Ancelotti also dismissed talk suggesting that he had picked Bale ahead of Karim Benzema because of the Welshman’s transfer fee.
“Did I play Bale for his price tag? For me, Bale is a player like any other. I think he was a good signing for Real Madrid.
“Bale played because in my opinion he could play and create problems for Barcelona, only for this. I didn’t start with Benzema because I did not want the opposing defence to have a clear point of reference.
“Therefore, Bale started on the left and could change position with Di Maria.”