Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane felt his side had given the needed response after outclassing bottom club Leganes 5-0 at the Bernabeu.
Los Blancos, who had the weekend off after their El Clasico clash with Barcelona was postponed due to safety reasons, had been beaten at Real Mallorca in their previous LaLiga outing.
However, after racing into a 3-0 lead inside half-an-hour, it never looked like being anything other than a vintage display which leaves Real now just a point behind leaders Barca.
“In the end it was an important match for us. We started well and then played our game,” said Zidane, who named the same team which beat Galatasaray in the Champions League with fit-again Croatia midfielder Luka Modric on the bench but Gareth Bale still not available.
“Was this our best ever performance? There are people who will say so, but I do not believe that.
“Yes, we are happy with the result, to score five goals and keep a clean sheet.
“We have not scored five goals for a long time.
“We needed a victory like that. When you start scoring two goals, it makes everything easier.”
Karim Benzema capped an impressive all-round display with a penalty in the second half.
Zidane said at a press conference: “Karim did as he always does, he doesn’t change much.
“It’s important that he scored because as a number nine at Madrid he needs it – but he contributes more than goals and does more than others. I’m happy with him.”
There was also a first goal for Luka Jovic, a summer signing from Eintracht Frankfurt, who scored with a header in stoppage time having come off the bench for a late cameo.
Zidane said: “He did not have many minutes and it was a great goal. He is a scorer, who always looks for the goal, so we are happy.”
Bale did not feature as he recovers from injury after international duty, the Wales forward having been allowed to travel to London this week to deal with a personal matter.
Zidane said: “I talked to him (tonight). I saw him in the locker room.
“Yes (he has permission) if he has left (the stadium early tonight) ….. five minutes before the end of the game, you can go home safely.”
Leganes coach Luis Cembranos, meanwhile, will now look to regroup his side for the visit of Eibar, having failed to build on last weekend’s 1-0 win over Mallorca.
“We thought we had many strong matches coming up, and we got the players in better conditions,” he told reporters.
“I worry about losing, not the goal difference, but I’ve seen positive things.
“I am convinced that this team will move forward.
“Now at Butarque we have to make ourselves strong. We have to ask for the lift and help from our fans, like against Mallorca.”
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