Zinedine Zidane insisted Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio are vitally important players to the Real Madrid cause.
Vazquez scored Madrid’s 11th-minute equaliser and Asensio worked tirelessly in attack and defence in Wednesday’s 3-1 win at Leganes, which moves the reigning champions up to third in La Liga.
The Spain international duo came to the fore as Cristiano Ronaldo was given the match off and Gareth Bale was rested on the bench, only heightening the perception that they arguably deserve more than the status of mere understudies in a squad punching below their weight this season.
“I think they have always been important for me, I’m glad for Lucas because he deserves it,” Zidane told a post-match news conference.
“He fought before the game. He was not well, he played a great game like Asensio, everybody in general, and [Mateo] Kovacic. He has played a lot lately and he has done great.
“We want to continue. We have had complicated moments and we have to take advantage to continue.
“There are a group of 25 players here, they know it’s difficult. What matters is that they are very good and they show that when they have to play.”
Four wins on the spin… pic.twitter.com/xjHnpFzTDo
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) February 21, 2018
Such depth allowed Zidane to give Bale a lighter workload and he conceded the Wales international’s injury woes over the past year must remain a consideration.
“I’m happy with him, we have to go little by little with him,” he added.
“What we want is for him to hit his best and we’re getting there.
“We’ll look at the matches that are coming up next and at how we’re going to manage them.
“We are good and in good form and I am counting on all my players.”