Real Madrid boss Santiago Solari was pleased to see the club’s young players coming to the fore in the 2-0 LaLiga victory over Valencia.
After last weekend’s 3-0 loss to Eibar, the most important thing for Real was getting back to winning ways, which they managed even if it was not the most fluent performance.
Real dominated the first half and led through Daniel Wass’ early own goal but Valencia came right back into the match in the second half and might have equalised before Lucas Vazquez made sure of the points late on.
Solari gave his side’s performance a mixed review but was happy to give Sergio Reguilon, Marcos Llorente and Federico Valverde more minutes.
He said on realmadrid.com: “I’d like us to repeat what we did in the first half. In general, the game was good but we were really impressive in the first 45 minutes. The second half was different, Valencia had chances to draw level and really piled the pressure on.
“The younger players brought some energy, but there needs to be a balance of that and the experience that the older players give. Players who combine both can compete in this squad, but we want to open the doors to those young players who can feature in the future.
“It gives me real satisfaction that players like Valverde, Reguilon and Marcos Llorente are here. We’re happy as a club because we have had players who have come up through the system and they’re now getting minutes in the first team.”
The winner of the Ballon d’Or will be announced on Monday, with Real midfielder Luka Modric the hot favourite to break the decade-long dominance of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
“He’s an exceptional player,” said Solari. “He’s shown that right throughout his career. He’s a role model of personal self-improvement.
“He grew up in a difficult and tough environment and we don’t know if that’s perhaps what’s behind his personality. As for his quality, we just don’t know where he gets it from.”
It was another blank for goal-shy Valencia, much to the frustration of coach Marcelino Garcia Toral.
He said on valenciacf.com: “We played a great second half and had four clear chances to draw, but we were not strong. I think we were superior for many minutes.
“We have to be self-critical and know that we are trained to play better. There is a lot of competition ahead and little distance with our rivals.”