Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane hailed the attitude of his players and the finishing of Gareth Bale after the Welshman’s hat trick along the way to Saturday evening’s 5-0 stroll past Deportivo La Coruna at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
The mood in the Bernabeu stands was much more positive than during the last few months of Benitez’s ill-starred and short time in charge, with the players on the pitch looking more liberated and confident than in some recent games.
Saturday’s La Liga results sees Madrid stay third, two points off leaders Barcelona, one behind second placed Atletico Madrid, with a game more played than both title rivals.
Cristiano Ronaldo did not join his fellow attackers on the scoresheet, but Zidane insists that he was still happy with the contribution that the Portuguese forward made.
“Nothing has changed among the players, what’s changed is the coach, and I’m going to try and make them play in the best way possible. What I liked the most was the attitude. It’s not easy to win 5-0 and I was impressed with the attitude of those who played and those who didn’t,” Zidane told reporters.
“Gareth just has to do what I’ve asked everyone else to do, which is to defend without the ball and open the pitch up and play when we have it.
“Cristiano played really well. He always feels he has to score because that’s what he likes to do but I thought he played well. I’m sure he’ll score in other games.”
Zidane sought to keep a low profile in his post-match press conference:
“Whenever you win a game, as a coach you can’t be anything but happy. I’m happy, that’s all.
“He underscored the way his players approached the game: “The thing I was most pleased about was the attitude of those who played and those who didn’t. It’s not easy to put five past a team like La Coruña.”
The Frenchman promised to work on improving the team’s weaknesses:
“Real Madrid always have to win. The main thing is the attitude. We have to improve in lots of areas, and we’re going to. We’ve got time.”
As for his tactical changes, he said,
“The objective was to try to play the ball out from the back and switch flanks quickly. We did that and we’re going to improve on it.”
“The crowd were fantastic, behind the team right from the kick-off through to the final whistle. There was a great atmosphere, but this is the first game. We’ll have to see what happens in the next one. The plan is to play good football and to win”, he concluded.