Zinedine Zidane’s double change at half-time in the Madrid derby proved decisive as Real Madrid went on to claim a 1-0 win against Atletico Madrid.
Both Toni Kroos and Isco were withdrawn at the break for Lucas Vazquez and Vinicius Junior, with the Brazilian making a decisive impact as it was his cute pass that led to Ferland Mendy putting in a pinpoint cross for Karim Benzema’s goal.
“I had to change things,” Zidane said in his press conference when asked about the double switch.
“I wasn’t happy with what I was seeing, but it wasn’t the players’ fault, it was mine.
“I didn’t want to point a finger at anyone, even less so at Isco and Toni, who are very good players.
“I’m happy for the win, for all of the players, and everyone is happy with the result.”
Zidane had lined up with five midfielders from the start, but everything changed after the break.
“I don’t talk about what happens in the dressing room,” he responded when asked how things went at half-time.
“We had to do something else in the second half, and we were much better.
“We had to change the setup.”
While acknowledging that three points over Atletico are satisfying, Zidane was keen to stress that a win is worth the same against Los Rojiblancos as against anyone else in LaLiga Santander.
“It’s complicated to win the derby,” Zidane explained.
“It’s a very special game and Atletico defend very well.
“They did well in the first half, not only defensively.
“We’re happy with the three points, but the derby gives you the same points as any other game.”
Still in all three competitions, the Frenchman was asked if he was thinking about a treble.
“We’re not thinking about it,” Zidane said, swatting the question away.
“It’s very far away.
“We’ve won nothing, only the Supercopa [de Espana].”
Gareth Bale’s situation remains a mystery, with him still at the club but having been left out.
“Bale was available,” Zidane confirmed.
“But I had to choose [who to leave out]. I’ll count on him until the end.”