Zinedine Zidane gave his thoughts on this afternoon’s win at Balaídos. The Real Madrid coach was happy to see his team collect three points before the international break and praised Karim Benzema, who scored a brace and set up Marco Asensio for the team’s third.
Key to victory: “The team put in a complete performance. We read the game well. We started strong with possession of the ball. It was a shame that we conceded a goal just before half-time. We suffered a little later in the second half but we deserved to win. It’s very important so that we can keep doing what we are doing”.
What pleased you the most? “We did well when we didn’t have the ball, we were strong, we closed down spaces well. And when we did get the ball, we knew exactly what we wanted to do with it – we played well throughout the whole game. When your opponents score, it can change the game. That didn’t happen today, we had a few difficulties but we remained in the game. That shows the character of this team”.
Tenth game without defeat: “You go through difficult moments during the season, everyone does. We are entering the home straight, the important part. We believe in what we are doing. The only downside is that a lot of players will be going off to be with their national teams and won;t be able to rest. For me, as Real Madrid coach, that’s a bit of a pain”.
Benzema: “I’m glad you have asked me about him because he is just unbelievable. For those who love football, watching Karim is a real pleasure – we enjoy seeing him in action and his team mates do as well. We have to keep this up because Karim makes all the difference and he knows that his team mates are important”
Would you like to see Benzema back with the France squad? “You can’t understand it, and neither can I… For me, as Real Madrid coach, it’s better that he is with us. What he did today was sensational. I’m happy for him because he’s a hard worker and he always wants more. Right from the first minute we went for the game and we deserved to win”.
Ramos on international duty with Spain: “Sergio will be joining up with the national team. He’ll be playing in five days’ time, I’m sure there won’t be any problems and it’ll be good for him”.
Why do Madrid struggle to kill games off? “I don’t know. We are playing against sides who are quite difficult to play. We’re not going to score five goals every time we play. I’m happy with the game we put in today, we suffered in the second half, but controlled the game well and we deserved the win”.
Valverde in a central role. Why did you move him? “It wasn’t a game for him to be out on the wing. He read the game well and played really well alongside Karim. His energy was just what we needed and we’re delighted for him”.