Even though Real Madrid have taken themselves within a touching distance of La Liga glory after a comfortable 2-0 victory over Alaves at the Alfredo Di Stéfano Stadium on Friday, manager Zinedine Zidane has called the remaining three league matches as the “three cup finals”.
Winning the 35th round match has taken Madrid’ points tally to 80, four more than second-placed Barcelona. If Barcelona lose their next match against Real Valladolid and Madrid win their next tie against Granada, Los Blancos will be crowned the 2019-20 La Liga champions with two matches remaining.
“There are three games to go and we don’t know what’s going to happen yet. I’ve always said that LaLiga is really hard and tough work and that’s what we have to do. We’ve now got three cup finals left and we now have to rest up well because we play again on Monday. But you sleep better after a win,” Zidane was quoted as saying on the official website of Real Madrid.
Zidane was relieved by Madrid’s performance especially when his team managed to pull out a comfortable victory without a string of key players. Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal were banned and Marcelo was injured, taking three out of Madrid’s regular four in the backline. Eden Hazard was also unable to start.
In the absence of regular captain Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema took the armband and, thus, also the penalty duties. He scored from the 12 yards spot before combining with Marco Asensio for the latter to score the second goal.
However, the makeshift defence, including Lucas Vazquez at the right-back, proved enough to keep Alaves at the bay as Zidane’s team registered their fifth straight clean sheet.
“I’m not concerned because the most important thing is winning games. Defensively it’s about not conceding goals, which is exactly what we’re doing, and then we have players who can make the difference. We didn’t score four or five goals today but we were up against opposition who defend and fight hard. We got another goal through a beautiful piece of play and I’m happy and calm about what we’re doing,” Zidane explained.