Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane had words of praise for both Isco and Karim Benzema who played crucial roles in this afternoon's 3-0 win over Alavés. Victory keeps Los Blancos top of the league standings on 68 points plus as a game in hand but Zidane warned that today's win was only the start of a what will be hectic month of fixtures: "Every three days we have a final".
Alavés gave us problems, reflects Zidane
Overview of the game: “We were up against a side who play really good football, and who have lost only a few games this season. Alavés can give you problems. We controlled the game in the first half, created chances and scored… we dropped our level a little after the break, particularly in terms of possession. We were losing balls too easily. But within the 90 minutes we managed to score three goals - that might seem like excessive punishment to Alavés. And keeping a clean sheet is also positive news”.
Varane injury: “These things happen unfortunately and you have to adapt - which we did well. The problem is that whoever comes off the bench, hasn't had a chance to warm up and so Carvajal did really well - as did Danilo on the left side. I'm happy with the outcome of a game which wasn't without difficulties. The second half was quite complicated. We suffered a bit but we have three points; we're happy with the result”.
Zidane explains Coentrao's situation at Madrid
Is Varane's injury a relapse? Will Coentrão play for Madrid again? “Varane's injury is in the same zone. It's not as serious as it was three weeks ago and hopefully, it's nothing bad. We'll study the situation after seeing the results of the ultrasound tomorrow. As for Coentrão, what I can say is that he is a Real Madrid player, who I will be counting on. Now and again he complains of pains and I don't know if it's a psychological issue or something else. In his defence, he has played a lot of games for this club and he has won the Champions League; he has done a lot of good things - he is the first who should remind himself about that. He was a long time out with an injury and it's difficult to come back after something like that. He's not quite at 100% or at the level needed for the games we have. I say that with all sincerity. I hope he can do something with us before the end of the season”.
Benzema: “He always gets us off the hook. Whenever we find ourselves in a complicated situation, he's there - scoring or making decisive passes. He's always right in the heart of the action, creating chances… He's doing really well, he's a clever player and I am very happy for him and to be able to count on important players like him for this final part of the campaign. We have a lot of games coming up and it will be a question of resistance because all of the players will need to suffer. There will be no easy games for us to win. Every three days we have got a final. We need to be consistent and maintain this dynamic. We are going to continue - that is the only thing we can do”.
Have you told Isco that he's going to play more next season? “What you need to be aware of is that every three days we have an important game. After that, everyone can think what they like. To be able to win the Liga or the Champions League, every single player in the squad is important. The players know that. And that's why when Isco plays, he plays well. There are 24 of us in this squad and everyone is important”.
Zidane wants Isco to stay at Madrid
Do you want Isco to renew his contract? “Of course I do, because he is a Real Madrid player and an important player for our team. The only thing he wants is to be here and play here. I'm delighted for the game he had today. He did well playing between lines, he made the rest of the team play, he put in a very complete performance”.
Zidane, final world for Juanito on 25th anniversary of his death
Juanito: “It's something which is very important - for the player he was and for the person he was. He had the values of this club. He never gave in, he always kept fighting. I never got to see him play, but I have seen video footage. He did many great things for this club and we share the tribute which he was given today. We always think about him. And the fans will never forget him”.