Former Real Madrid captain Fernando Hierro leapt to the defence of Zinedine Zidane, urging the club to be sensible as pressure builds on the under-fire head coach amid their struggles.

Madrid soared to new heights in 2016-17, winning LaLiga and becoming the first team to successfully defend its Champions League crown last season.

Read: Zidane should keep Real Madrid job regardless of trophies, says Laudrup

However, Madrid has been less than convincing this term despite winning the UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup and Supercopa de Espana — already 16 points behind runaway leader and bitter rival Barcelona in LaLiga.

Madrid also stumbled into the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey following a disappointing 2-2 draw at home to Numancia on Wednesday but Hierro has called for calm in the Spanish capital.

"We have to be sensible," Hierro said.

"We are in January and it is the same coach and almost the same players who won eight titles in the last two years.

Also read: My Real Madrid contract means nothing, says Zidane

"Real Madrid means that you have to win every game, being second is not worth it.

"However, we have to be calm and use good sense.

"One gets used to winning everything, but when that isn't the case, it's not a good enough reason to want him out."

"We have to be smart in our judgement because they are the same players, the same trainer and the same philosophy," he added.

Zidane's Madrid welcome sixth-placed Villarreal to the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.