Rafael Benitez has revealed that the reason he chose not to start James against Gijon was purely tactical.
James played only 34 minutes of the opening match at Gijon from the bench, with Madrid drawing. After which James talked about “feeling better than ever” on Twitter.
Benitez has quelled rumours of a spat between him and the Colombia international, blaming tactics.
“James is a great player,” he told a news conference. “He’s fundamental, the same as Isco and his other team-mates.
“If James didn’t play it was due to a technical decision and not a personal matter.
“James is a very good player. He will be key for us and I will decide tomorrow who will play.”
Benitez’s men face Real Betis on Saturday and striker Karim Benzema could be set to make his return following a hamstring problem.
“Benzema doesn’t have the same match practice as his team-mates,” added Benitez. “We’ll see how many minutes he can play.
“Benzema is a great player and we need him to have continuity, he is fundamental for us in attack.”