Sport

Zidane proud of Madrid performance

Ronaldo scored the winner for Real Madrid
Ronaldo scored the winner for Real Madrid

Zinedine Zidane tasted victory in his first Clasico as Real head coach on Saturday night.

Los Blancos came from behind to beat Barcelona 2-1 at the Nou Camp and Zidane declared himself proud of his players.

The result will do Zidane's chances of keeping his job next season no harm although the club's Champions League performance this season is likely to be the most important factor in this decision.

Zidane said in his press conference: "I'm very happy for everything. We struggled at first but I'm very proud of what the players did. I am happy with the win and the performance.

"We made a huge effort against very good players. When you see the team playing together it is the best thing for a coach."

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique claimed his side's loss to Real Madrid would soon be forgotten as they refocus on their treble bid.

Barca's 39-game unbeaten run was brought to an end by their arch-rivals at the Nou Camp as Cristiano Ronaldo struck in the 85th minute to secure a 2-1 victory for 10-man Real.

The loss was undoubtedly a disappointment but the Catalans still hold a six-point lead at the top of La Liga, are still in the Champions League and are also through to the Copa del Rey final.

Enrique said in his post-match press conference: "What happened can happen in any game.

"We have to go forward and stand up and think about the Champions League. We're leaders and the one that wins is the most consistent. So far, we are.

"For me, this game no longer exists. What's left is very important. We have to reinforce what we've been doing well and see what can be improved.

"We come from a lot of games without losing but defeat also teaches you things."

Barca were second best for most of the game but created the better clear-cut chances in the first half and then took the lead with a powerful Gerard Pique header in the 56th minute.

Real quickly responded with a superb equaliser from Karim Benzema and pressed ahead for a winner even after the late sending off of captain Sergio Ramos for a second bookable offence - his fourth Clasico dismissal.

Gareth Bale had a header controversially disallowed but the Welshman overcame the disappointment to set up the winner for Ronaldo.