Zidane rested some of his regular starters ahead of the return leg against Juventus on Wednesday at Bernabeu, including midfielders Luka Modric and Casemiro.
"Physically, I'm back. Mentally, I'm cooler, and since January, we will say that I've broken out of the barracks".
"We could have lost without [goalkeeper Jan] Oblak".
Las Palmas, whose last league win came against Malaga 10 games ago, was in the second tier for the last time in the 2014-15 season.
It was a lead Zinedine Zidane's men merited after they had the better of a first half in which Toni Kroos had a strong penalty appeal rejected and Marcelo hit the crossbar.
"We knew we'd have to play better in the second half and we did".
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"We deserved more today clearly, it's a shame", Real coach Zinedine Zidane said afterwards.
Zidane supposedly told him in the immediate aftermath of that game he should sit out the Atletico game.
Levante took a big step toward avoiding demotion by defeating Las Palmas 2-1 with an injury-time victor by Jose Campana, opening an eight-point gap to the relegation zone with seven matches left. "But our objective remains the same, to try and cut the gap in points, and get to second place".
"Jesus felt something after yesterday's training", the Frenchman explained. "If not we will see what we do".
Bale, frequently linked to Manchester United, was an unused substitute in Madrid's stunning 3-0 win over Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday, but the coach insists he remains firmly in his plans.
"I would like my future to be settled before the World Cup, otherwise, afterwards, we have calls to the right or to the left", he said. We have to do everything possible to go through, and just think about that.
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC.