Zidane cautious as Real Madrid go top: "There's a long way to go"
Real Madrid beat Real Valladolid 0-1 with Nacho, the unlikely match-winner. "He's very professional, when he has to compete, he does. I'm happy for him".
Zinedine Zidane praised his players for their performance in Sunday's 0-1 win at Valladolid with Nacho heading in a late winner at Estadio José Zorrilla. The centre-back connected with a Toni Kroos cross to head the visitors in front after 78 minutes during a tightly-contested match. With the win, Madrid move three points clear at the top of LaLiga table.
Zidane: "Nacho is a professional, I'm pleased for him"
Zidane recognised the good job his defence are doing after Valladolid failed to register a shot on target but said more creativity is required to ensure struggling opponents are beaten more convincingly. "Defensively, what we are doing, we are doing well. It is our strength," Zidane explained to reporters after the game. "Everyone is helping out in defence all and when we lose the ball we win it back high up the pitch. If we don't concede, we increase our chances of scoring and that's what we did today. Just before the goal, I told Nacho that he would meet the ball at the near post. Nacho is a professional. When he has to compete he does. I'm pleased he scored; he doesn't usually score them but from time to time we can also create chances for defenders."
Zidane refused to be drawn on his side's title chances despite opening up a gap over rivals Barcelona, who lost 0-2 to Valencia on Saturday. Madrid have been beaten only once in the league this season but with 17 games remaining, including a trip to Camp Nou on 1 March, Zidane warnd that there is a tough road ahead.
"For us, nothing changes," he said. "We are happy with the victory, the work done having fought until the end, but nothing changes. There are 17 games left and we will continue fighting until the end. I don't want to talk about being champions because there is still a lot left to play. It changes nothing to be leaders, they are three important points but nothing more. There are a lot of league games left and it will be difficult for all teams, including us."
Madrid derby this weekend
Madrid's next game is at home to city rivals Atlético Madrid on Saturday.