Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane stressed Toni Kroos' absence from his team in midweek was a tactical decision and he told reporters to stop looking for another meaning behind the omission.
Germany international Kroos was surprisingly left out of Los Blancos' starting line-up for the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie against Manchester City, which Madrid lost 2-1.
The 30-year-old had started five of Madrid's six group games and Zidane confirmed after the loss that there was no injury, though Kroos did not even make it onto the pitch.
Madrid face Barcelona in Sunday's El Clasico, with Kroos training as normal on Saturday, and despite suggestions there could be a rift developing between player and coach, Zidane was quick to shut down such talk.
"Always when there is a bad result you look for something," he told reporters.
"We did not lose because he didn't play.
"There are things that can happen in a specific moment, in a match, and we have chosen this team.
"Those who came in played well and I chose a different alternative to Toni Kroos the other day. There's nothing else.
"You do not have to look for other things."
Luka Modric, Casemiro and Federico Valverde all started in midfield against City, with Kroos having started in Madrid's previous two LaLiga games, neither of which they won.
Zidane's side host Barcelona on Sunday knowing a third successive defeat in all competitions would leave them five points behind the leaders in the title race.
Published 29 Feb 2020, 19:56 IST