Zinedine Zidane believes Real Madrid are “reaping the rewards of our preseason” over the winter break after Saturday’s 5-1 victory over Getafe.
The ‘BBC’ all got on the scoresheet, along with James Rodriguez and Isco, to fire Madrid to within a single point of Barcelona atop La Liga, and Zidane pointed to his side’s intense training programme during the Christmas holidays as the catalyst to their resurgence under his command.
“[On Benzema], he knows that his daily life is at Madrid,” the Coach said after the game.
“He’s very important for the team, but what I like about him is that he’s always focused on the team.
“We’re doing our job properly because the League is important, but we’re not looking beyond the work we’re doing.
“It was an important result because I was concerned [about the game prior to kick-off], but the players entered the pitch as they should and did very well.
“I’m very happy with [James and Isco] because it’s not easy [to come straight into a settled team].
“What I like about them and what’s important for the team is that when they have the chance to play, they do so well. I’m very happy with them in particular and everyone in general.
“[On Mateo Kovacic missing out], Mateo is an important player in the team. He’ll have minutes, but it wasn’t possible [on Saturday], no more than that.
“I see [our performance in] the League improving because we’re getting closer with every match.
“Against Getafe, we did things well from the start. We had a fantastic match, playing seriously and respecting our opponents, but now we must follow it up because we haven’t won anything yet. We must remain this way until the end of the season.
“I don’t know when our rivals will stumble next, but we’re at a point where we have to keep going forward. We’re only thinking about our next game.
“We’re reaping the rewards of our preseason [over Christmas] and I’m happy for the players.
“We gave rest to Karim and Gareth but not Cristiano. He’s playing well and we didn’t see it fit [to rest him too].
“[On Jese Rodriguez], it was a good assist [for Ronaldo] and the good thing is that we’re a team. We’re happy to see Cristiano scoring goals.
“At the moment we’re behind Barca and Atletico, and that’s something significant, but the main thing is that we’re mentally very well.
“[On Keylor Navas], he’s really focused on what he does, that's what stands out from him.”