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Zidane hails Real Madrid's 2-0 win at Roma

Smiles are back on Real Madrid faces
Smiles are back on Real Madrid faces

Zinedine Zidane was a happy man after watching his Real Madrid side put one foot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Zidane's first experience of managing in a competition he won as a player with Real was close to perfect as goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and substitute Jese earned them a 2-0 win over Roma in the Italian capital.

The Frenchman said on uefa.com: "We're happy with the game and the result. We knew it was going to be a tough game but we fought to the end. In the first half they pressured us and that's normal in a difficult Champions League tie.

"Cristiano was great but then again so was everyone. Even those who did not play were important for team morale.

"I'm happy with Jese's goal - he deserved it for his efforts. I'm happy and I'll try to ensure the side keeps on improving."

Jese, 22, came through the Real youth system and took his first Champions League goal with aplomb four minutes after coming on as a substitute.

He praised the influence of Zidane, saying: "I know it's tough to get a game in this side because everyone is such a good player. I'm happy to have the manager's backing. He is giving us all confidence. He's a top coach."

A cagey game opened up after Ronaldo's deflected strike in the 57th minute, and the hosts had several chances to equalise prior to Jese's clincher.

Roma boss Luciano Spalletti could not be too downhearted, though, after seeing his side go toe to toe with one of the best sides in Europe.

He said: "We are happy for the fans' applause. They realised that the players gave their all, and that we haven't been lucky today.

"We created the right movements but did not score. You cannot make little mistakes against them when we couldn't take advantage of our chances.

"When we conceded we became fearful, and that's why we conceded the second goal. We lose our balance sometimes, but I am happy for our overall performance. We played a great second half."

In the night's other Champions League game, Wolfsburg secured a 3-2 away win against Gent.