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Real Madrid can reduce the gap to leaders Barcelona with a win over Athletic BilbaoReuters

Real Madrid will look to cut the lead at the top of the La Liga with three points against Athletic Bilbao at the Bernabeu on Saturday.

Zinedine Zidane's men currently lie third in the table, four points behind leaders Barcelona, who have played a game less. Therefore, Real Madrid cannot afford to drop any points on Saturday.

"Athletic are a very strong team but we must continue with the same dynamic of winning as many games as possible," Zidane told the club's official website. "We know who we are playing against."

Athletic Bilbao are in sixth place at the moment, and while they are a full 15 points behind Real Madrid, Zidane and the rest will know they are a team easily capable of beating any of the three top sides in La Liga, especially If Aritz Aduriz finds his goalscoring touch in the game. So, Real Madrid will have to be wary of their opponents.

Having said that, however, Real Madrid, even if there have been a couple of hiccups in recent times, have looked better after Zidane has taken over. The attacking play has improved, while the players just seem a lot more attuned with what they need to do on the pitch.

"The most important thing is to give the maximum," Zidane added. "Every player has their feelings and when there is something negative out on the field there can be difficult moments. Ninety perfect minutes don't exist. The only thing you can do is reduce the bad moments.

"When you're a manager, you never know what can happen. Now we're playing every three days and I've got no more concerns other than these games. Away from home it has been a bit more difficult than at home and it's true that we have scored a lot of goals in each of our home games, but it's not always going to be like that.

"The games are not the same and we have to give everything and prepare for each game."

This game is at home, so goals should flow easier for Real Madrid, even without Gareth Bale, who is struggling to regain full fitness. "When a player is injured it is always worrying, but no more than normal," Zidane said giving an update on Bale's progress. "Every day he is better.

"It's something that has been going on for a bit more time for him but we have to be calm about it. We want him at 100% and I want all the players at 100%. If he's uncomfortable and it hurts him, it's normal that he could have a setback. He's a very important player for us and we're not going to take any risks. We want him at 100%, not at 80 or 85%."

Zidane, probably with the Champions League last 16 first leg against Roma in midweek in mind, will rest Isco and give Mateo Kovacic a run-out from the start in midfield. The France legend has demanded more work ethic, especially off the ball, from the Croatian, who made a summer move from Inter Milan, but is yet to cement his place in the team.

"Kovacic will play from the start," Zidane revealed. "He'll play in place of Isco and I'm going to ask him to work hard without the ball because with the ball he knows what he has to do."

Where to Watch Live

Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao is scheduled for a 4 pm CET (8.30 pm IST, 3 pm GMT, 10 am ET) start with live TV coverage in India on Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD. Viewers in India can also watch the La Liga game via live streaming online on Sony Liv.

Audience in Spain viewers can catch Real Madrid vs Athletic Club live on Canal+ and Movistar TV Futbol. There will be no live coverage of the La Liga match in the UK. 

US, Canada and Thailand viewers can watch the game live on Bein Sports, while the live stream option is available on Bein Sports Connect.

Guangdong Sports will broadcast the match live in China, while Hong Kong viewers can catch the Real Madrid game live on Now Sports. Super Sports will show the match live in Singapore.

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