Zidane praises squad after 2-0 win over Celta Vigo vaults Real to top of standings

SHOWS: MADRID, SPAIN (JANUARY 2, 2021) (MEDIAPRO/LA LIGA - FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES)

1. REAL MADRID MANAGER ZINEDINE ZIDANE SITTING DOWN AT POST MATCH NEWS CONFERENCE AFTER DEFEATING CELTA VIGO 2-0

2. (SOUNDBITE)(Spanish) REAL MADRID MANAGER ZINEDINE ZIDANE AFTER BEING ASKED WHAT DOES NACHO FERNANDEZ BRING TO THE SQUAD, SAYING:

"Well this isn't something new from Nacho, we know what kind of a player he is, he's a very professional player, a very important player. When he plays he gives everything and he does it well and he showed that again today and I'm not surprised at all because I think he had a very good game. I'm very happy for him, I'm happy for the team, because in the end it's three very important points that we wanted."

3. WHITE FLASH

4. (SOUNDBITE)(Spanish) REAL MADRID MANAGER ZINEDINE ZIDANE AFTER BEING ASKED ABOUT DANI CARVAJAL AND MARCO ASENSIO, SAYING:

"Well (Dani) Carvajal was pulled up with some problem so we took him off because I didn't want to take any risks but I don't think it's something serious. And with Marco (Asensio), yes, of course, very happy for him because he's come back from another serious injury and slowly but surely he's playing very well and he's improving day by day. I'm happy for him, I'm happy for the team because of course all of us put in a big shift to win the game because we played well from the start today and we were very good until the end. We were very serious, both offensively and defensively, with or without the ball, and I'm very happy for all the players."

5. CELTA VIGO MANAGER EDUARDO COUDET AT POST MATCH NEWS CONFERENCE AFTER LOSS TO REAL MADRID

6. (SOUNDBITE)(Spanish) CELTA VIGO MANAGER EDUARDO COUDET AFTER BEING ASKED ABOUT ALLOWING EARLY GOAL AND DIFFICULT MATCH, SAYING:

"Yes, I agree with you. I think after the, we had a chance to take a lead, we ironically concede, is a bit annoying but we have to keep working hard. I think we played well, we went head to head with Real Madrid, toe to toe, I think we were lacking chances really and I don't think we took enough risks with the ball and we have to improve in the sense that we have to try and play the ball quickly through the middle but also out wide and today that cost us too many lost balls. But with respect to the injuries for example, I have a whole squad and I trust all of my players and if one doesn't play, another one will, so I'm fully confident in my squad. These are things that happen as the season goes on, we will adapt to the situation of course and we will see what's best for the team for the next game."

STORY: Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane paid tribute to Nacho Fernandez and Marco Asensio after the Spaniards made key contributions to his side's 2-0 home win over Celta Vigo on Saturday (January 2) which took Real one point clear at the top of La Liga.

Nacho, who was brought in due to the absence of captain Sergio Ramos, prevented an early Celta goal by clearing a shot from Iago Aspas off the line and Real countered immediately to open the scoring with a header from Lucas Vazquez.

"Nacho has behaved like a professional throughout his career, not just now, and is always important when he plays," Zidane said of the defender, who was making his seventh league appearance of the campaign.

"I'm not surprised by how well he played but I'm happy for him and the team because we've earned three very important points."

Asensio had crossed the ball to Vazquez, who later teed up the forward to score early in the second half and get his first goal of the season after struggling at the start of his second campaign since suffering a serious knee injury in July 2019.

"I'm really pleased for Asensio, he had a big injury and he's much better now and improving with every game," said Zidane.

The Frenchman also praised Vazquez, who returned to the side earlier in the season as a back up to the injured Dani Carvajal but has kept his place as a winger since the defender's return.

He started ahead of record signing Eden Hazard on Saturday although the Belgian came on in the second half.

"Lucas is doing so well. He's very reliable, very focused and it was only a matter of time before he started playing like this," Zidane said.

"We played very well today, we keep picking up points and that's not easy to do."

Real top of the standings with 36 points, one ahead of Atletico Madrid, who have three games in hand.

(Production: David Grip)