It has been a difficult week for Real Madrid after their 1-0 defeat to Real Betis heaped the pressure on Zinedine Zidane and his players, but the Frenchman was eager to escape with three points from Saturday’s clash with Alaves and he did, after which he encouraged supporters that better days are ahead.
Dani Ceballos has not really had the opportunity to play thus far this term, yet the former Real Betis midfielder was handed a rare start on Saturday afternoon and he didn’t disappoint.
A brace from the 21-year-old handed Los Blancos a vital 2-1 victory, which left Zidane relieved at simply getting the win, rather than being frustrated at another stuttering performance.
“We will have much better days and we will play much better than this, but we achieved our objective, which was to win,” he explained.
The French coach was quick to praise the goalscorer in his post-match press conference and pointed towards Ceballos’ overall performance, rather than the match-winning goals.
“I am very happy for the player, as he is ready to play and did very well today getting both goals,” he said.
“I am happy for him because he is a boy who wants to learn and he will have more opportunities.
“More than just the goals, he has played a great game.”
Saturday afternoon’s victory saw the defending Spanish champions maintain their excellent away record, with Los Blancos having won all three of their LaLiga matches away from the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu so far.
Zidane was quick to make clear that whilst the team still enjoyed playing at home, it was a welcome break following recent disappointing results.
“We like to play at the Bernabeu, although it is true that we needed to change things,” he said.
“It isn’t normal for us to have such bad results.”
Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to domestic action has been far from fruitful thus far, as in two successive matches the Portuguese forward has failed to find the net.
When asked about his talisman’s form, the former Castilla coach reassured supporters that last term’s top scorer was feeling calm, in spite of such worrying form in front of goal.
“When you do not score, you are frustrated, but Ronaldo is calm,” Zidane said.
“He wants to score and he had the chances to do so.
“In the end we always know he will make a difference eventually.”
Marcelo’s injury has left Los Blancos’ defence weakened in both quality and number and the fear of something similar happening to Dani Carvajal on the opposite flank is palpable.
Yet Zidane said he couldn’t afford to rotate the right-back too, despite some pre-match calls for him to do so.