Real Madrid manager Santiago Solari said he was “particularly happy” with the performance of Marco Asensio after his winning goal in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League round-of-16 clash against Ajax on Wednesday.
Asensio struck with three minutes remaining to give Los Blancos a 2-1 win in Amsterdam, putting them in pole position to qualify for the quarter-finals of the competition once again.
The campaign has been a challenging one for Asensio due to form and fitness issues, with his last start for the club coming in the 1-0 win over Rayo Vallecano in December in La Liga. He’s only registered five goals and five assists in all competitions this term.
“I’m particularly happy with his goal and his performance.
“He has played in three of the four games since he came back from the injury.
“He has done everything he had to do, not only for the goal but for how he managed the game, for how he defended and his effectiveness in reaching the opposition goal.”
Ajax played well despite their defeat and Madrid were made to work for the win.
“Without a doubt [it was a game in which Los Blancos suffered],” Solari added.
“We knew how to play the game. We worked and suffered and scored when we created chances.
“We did everything and that shows the strength of this group.
“Despite acknowledging that it was a difficult night, Solari didn’t agree when a journalist suggested Madrid had had a bad game.
“That’s your opinion,” he responded.
“There were a lot of things we needed to do to get this result.”We had to work, to suffer, to know how to deal with the pressure and to be strong.”