Real Madrid: 4-1 Valladolid win should avert all-out Pérez panic
Sunday's 4-1 win at Real Valladolid should leave the spectre of José Mourinho looming a little less large. Defeat would have backed Real Madrid chief Florentino Pérez into such a tight spot that it is eminently possible he'd have thrown himself straight into the arms of the Portuguese, a coach he has clearly retained quite a hankering for. However, lady luck was smiling on Madrid at the Estadio José Zorrilla, and helped them to a victory that was not so much a return to form for them as it was a continuation of the hosts' dreadful recent run; nothing is going their way. Madrid were just not with it in the opening stages of the game, and within half an hour Valladolid had missed a penalty, twice seen goals disallowed for offside (one by VAR) and, at the fourth time of asking, finally netted an effort that stood.
Madrid escape what had looked like turning into a dreadful night
It was threatening to be a terrible night for Madrid until Jordi Masip, a keeper who's a fine shot-stopper but whose short stature is evident when he comes off his line, got nowhere near a corner, and the visitors equalised. That was the turning point. Valladolid's heads dropped, and Madrid suddenly felt a lot better about themselves. There was a clear sluggishness to the way Toni Kroos and Casemiro tracked back when possession was lost, and Álvaro Odriozola looked all at sea on the right, but Luka Modric kept the side afloat, Karim Benzema spearheaded the attack to good effect once more and, on the left, Sergio Reguilón was a bundle of energy. Put together, this was enough to ensure the play began to spend more time in Valladolid's half. It remained honours even at the break, and all on the second 45.
4-1 win should dissuade Pérez from hitting panic button
Valladolid came flying back out of the traps, but, after creating two chances in swift succession, gifted the visitors a penalty that Benzema duly buried - and that proved one setback too many for Los Pucelanos. With the Frenchman and Modric to the fore, Madrid went on to register a wide margin of victory with relatively little difficulty. There was even an opportunity for Benzema to offer a nice gesture to Marcelo, embracing the left-back and handing him the armband when he came on late on. What with the soothing effect of a 4-1 win, and the fact that the team's next game is not for another week, Pérez really should be able to take a breath, avoid hitting the panic button, and steer clear of a decision nobody thinks would be wise. The best we can hope for between now and the summer is that Madrid do not compound their predicament.