Under-fire manager Zinedine Zidane congratulated his Real Madrid players for their outstanding performance following a crucial 4-1 win at Valencia on Saturday.
The result at the Mestalla temporarily eases the pressure that Zidane was under following a string of poor results – with the most recent being a 2-1 loss to Leganes in the Copa del Rey.
Cristiano Ronaldo converted two penalties to put Los Blancos into a 2-0 lead at the break – after two hapless mistakes from Valencia defender Martin Montoya.
The home side halved the deficit just before the hour mark as Santi Mina headed in Parejo’s cross, but it wasn’t enough as Marcelo and Toni Kroos ensured that Madrid travelled back to the Spanish capital with all three points.
Zidane was delighted with his side's performance, especially after Real's exit from the Copa del Rey, and the Frenchman felt it necessary to congratulate his players.
"I go away very happy," he told a news conference, via goal. "We have to congratulate the players. We played an amazing game on a pitch that's never easy, but we had to do it.
"We did really well and we earned the victory, which was important. There are difficult moments and it shows the players have personality. In football, a lot of things are in the head. The players know what they do, they don't give up.
"We interpreted the game very well tactically. They're a direct rival and we have a game in hand. If we win, we'll be above them. In the second half, Keylor [Navas] saved us for 15 or 20 minutes, but we deserved the win overall."
The result means that Real Madrid remain fourth in La Liga, but are now just two points behind Valencia. However, they're still a staggering 19 points adrift of leaders Barcelona who host Alaves on Sunday.