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Copa del Rey win could 'liberate' Real Madrid - Santiago Solari

Real Madrid coach Santi Solari said that Wednesday's 3-0 Copa del Rey last 16 first leg win against Leganes at the Bernabeu could "liberate" a team which has struggled in La Liga lately.

A much-changed Madrid XI looked nervous early on but Sergio Ramos' penalty just before the break put them in control, and good team pressing lead to Lucas Vazquez netting a second midway through the second half, before youngster Vinicius Junior volleyed a superb third goal late on.

The result lifted some of the gloom which has settled on Madrid after the team took just one point from their first two La Liga games of 2019, with the coach admitting that a lack of goals recently had been weighing on his team.

"Madrid always need to win, and to score goals," Solari said. "Historically it has always been like this. When you are coming from a game when you should have scored and didn't, to score three goals, even in another competition, it liberates you. To score is the most beautiful thing in football. [Leganes] are a very well-organised, tactically clever team. We had to wait for spaces to open up, over the 90 minutes. We had worked on that, we showed patience. But we must not forget the second leg is still to come."

Madrid's first goal came from a penalty hotly debated by the visitors after right-back Alvaro Odriozola burst into the penalty area and tumbled to the ground.

Solari said: "To me, it was a penalty, but what can I say. There was another on Odriozola a bit before too. But we know that all coaches' have an opinion in favour of their team, that is how football works."

While dodging questions about why Isco was again a substitute even in a heavily rotated side, Solari was happy to talk of how 18-year-old Brazilian Vinicius was in the right place to continue his development and become a top player.

"Vinicius is a kid who takes people on, and in modern football that is one of the most important things, and most difficult to find," he said. "We hope that he keeps improving on a collective level for the team but never loses this talent. I was with him when he arrived in the summer at Castilla, and now with the first team. We are all very happy with his development, and try to support him so that continues. It is good to shine on your debut, but you must sustain it."

Asked about the worst-attended game of the season -- only 44,231 people showed up -- Solari preferred to say that the players always felt Los Blancos fans all around the world were with them in every game.

"Real Madrid has millions of fans all around the world, in every country," the Argentine said. "Not all can come to the Bernabeu, but Real Madrid is the global brand of football. So we always know people are watching, we always feel the fans are with us."


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