Zinedine Zidane praises Real Madrid youngsters after victory at Levante
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane praised the performance and commitment of his younger squad players after Wednesday's 3-1 win at Levante.
Zidane's side went into the game under a cloud after Saturday's home defeat to neighbours Atletico, with injuries and suspensions resulting in a patched-up starting XI.
A Cristiano Ronaldo penalty and an own goal by Levante goalkeeper Diego Marino put Madrid 2-0 ahead.
But home striker Deyverson got a goal back just before half-time, and the game was only finally decided when substitute Isco scored late on.
Madrid remain four points behind second-placed Atletico and nine adrift of leaders Barcelona, who play at Rayo Vallecano on Thursday.
Blancos coach Zidane told his postmatch news conference that he was delighted with the performances of players such as Lucas Vazquez, Casemiro and Borja Mayoral who had come into the team.
"When there are many changes, you always think it might be more difficult," he said. "But we saw a good game of football.
"It was not easy at the start, but we got into the game, and we got the three points and played a good game. When you do not play, or don't play much, it is difficult. But you did not see that today."
Lucas, Casemiro and Mayoral, as well as established midfielder Toni Kroos, received treatment for cramp late in a game.
Zidane had criticised his players' for not running enough against Atletico last weekend, but said he was happy with the commitment they had shown against Levante.
"Lucas worked very hard in defence and ended up with cramp," he said. "That is what we must do -- to run, to be committed. That's what we always want. We must always make the maximum effort on the pitch, not just the kids."
He praised 18-year-old striker Mayoral, saying: "We know what Borja can bring. He is very young, but he plays with confidence and personality."