Real Madrid’s character in their 2-1 win over Deportivo Alaves at a sodden Mendizorroza delighted head coach Zinedine Zidane.
Goals from skipper Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal either side of Lucas Perez’s 65th-minute penalty put Madrid three points clear of Barcelona at the top of LaLiga, ahead of the champions entertaining Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou on Sunday.
Zidane selected Alphonse Areola ahead of Thibaut Courtois in goal, while Eder Militao and the under-fire Gareth Bale also started in a shuffled line-up for a keenly contested match.
“It’s very important victory, but [we will not be] looking at tomorrow’s game between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid,” Zidane told a post-match news conference.
“Winning at these grounds is what we live for. We played with lots of personality.
“We played really seriously. We knew that we had to fight and we did it.
“We’ve got three points at a very difficult place to come.”
On his surprise selection calls, Zidane added: “[Starting] Areola was today’s decision. He’s part of the squad, he trains well.
“He’s part of the squad and he saved us, like Courtois sometimes does. He did fantastically well.
“Militao did very well and he has the right to play.
“We have to play every three days. The important thing is that everyone shows me every week that they are plugged in.”
Madrid return to LaLiga action next weekend when they host Espanyol.
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