Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho admitted his side had found it difficult in the 2-1 win over Levante at the Ciutat de Valencia.
Alvaro Morata rescued Los Blancos with a late winner on a heavy pitch that did both sides no favours, and Mourinho was thankful his team emerged with all three points.
“It was a difficult match for everyone and we adapted to the conditions, but it was an honest fight between two honest teams that gave their all in search of the result. We had to play with great character and strength and deserved to win. I hadn't won here before and they are three extremely important points,” he told Real Madrid’s official website.
“We played 4-4-2 because we knew the pitch wouldn't allow us to play football and it would be more direct with lots of second moves. Normally in these games the team that scores first wins. In the end we had to score twice to win.
“They reacted and equalised and without Cristiano Ronaldo it was more difficult. [Jose] Callejon and [Angel] Di Maria played fantastically as forwards and then El Nino [Alvaro Morata] came on to score with his first touch and we got the three points.”
Mourinho then turned his attention to the adverse conditions, with much of the pitch under water after heavy rainfall in Valencia.
“For all those who have played football, well or badly, as children it was a party when you played in the rain and I think people enjoy it to a certain extent.
“However, a more technical team and the referee find it more difficult, as do the spectators because it’s cold and raining, but It’s still football and you need to adapt your game.
“Levante played the way they wanted to, they fought hard and made the game difficult for us,” said Mourinho, who reserved particular praise for match winner Morata.
“He deserves the praise, not me. My praise comes from helping him grow, training him and not letting him go to another team.
“I brought him into the first team, no one else. I brought him in and told the club to give him a first team contract and not to let him leave this year.
“We have [Gonzalo] Higuain and [Karim] Benzema and when they don’t play Morata will. What others say for me doesn’t matter because what is important is that he’s growing as a player, and as a person as his life is changing by becoming part of the first team.
“You report the matches in which he is not selected or does not play, but he has now played three matches, played in the Cup and made his debut in the Cup last year.
“El Nino is very stable mentally and I hope that remains the case after he has read what will be published in the days to come.”
Regarding Ronaldo, who was substituted at the break following a blow to the face in the second minute of the game, Mourinho explained his condition.
“He’s dizzy. In the first half he was unable to see properly with that eye, but during the break he couldn't see properly with either, so it was impossible for him to continue. “When he gets to Madrid he’ll go to hospital to have the tests he needs,” he concluded.