Zinedine Zidane insisted Real Madrid’s 2-1 win at Athletic Bilbao “meant nothing”, despite his side moving five points clear at the top of La Liga.
Goals from Karim Benzema and Casemiro fired Madrid to their third straight League win, although Zidane’s decision to bring off Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric as part of a switch to a 4-4-2 formation at San Mames made for a tricky ending.
“We won at a difficult place, we suffered a lot but at the same time with character,” the Coach said after the game.
“It was important to pick up points and continue our good run. We have 11 matches left and we’re top, but this means nothing. We know that there are more difficult matches to come.
“Benzema and Ronaldo? I prefer to focus on how everyone played, although Karim had a great game.
“In the end, we looked for more balance with the 4-4-2. There was no problem with Ronaldo, he can come off from time to time. I was happy because we won the game, I’ll stick with that.
“We weren’t badly positioned [after the tactical change], they were trying to find Williams and Gareth helped until the last ball.
“It is what it is, we suffered at times, but we played well, we knew it was always complicated here, but we did what we had to do.
“In bringing Lucas on, we looked to play 4-4-2 and defend more tightly. It didn’t mean we’d step back to wait for our opponents, we were looking for more balance, and with the twoup top being a little more in the middle, we were more compact.
“Cristiano, Gareth and Karim gave a lot, that’s why we changed two of them for Isco and Morata.
“The international break? I’m not going to get into that, the players are going to go with their national teams, it is what it is.
“When they return, we’ll have nine games in 25 days and in that, we’ll be playing for everything. We’re going to need all 24 [players].
“Keylor? The debate is closed for me. We’re with Keylor, with Kiko and Ruben.
“We have to continue. You can do things wrong, but today he made some important stops and we won thanks to him and the others.
“We know that Athletic don’t drop off until the final whistle and they made life difficult for us.
“They scored a goal in the second half, Williams is young and has great movement and quality, but in the end we managed to stop him.”