Zidane praises unsung Vazquez, Asensio and Nacho after Celta win

MADRID: Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane paid tribute to Lucas Vazquez, Nacho Fernandez and Marco Asensio after the Spanish trio made key contributions to his side’s 2-0 home win over Celta Vigo on Saturday which took Real one point clear at the top of La Liga.

Nacho, who was brought in due to the absence of captain Sergio Ramos, prevented an early Celta goal by clearing a shot from Iago Aspas off the line and Real countered immediately to open the scoring with a header from Vazquez.

“Nacho has behaved like a professional throughout his career, not just now, and is always important when he plays,” Zidane said of the defender, who was making his seventh league appearance of the campaign.

“I’m not surprised by how well he played but I’m happy for him and the team because we’ve earned three very important points.”

Asensio had crossed the ball to Vazquez, who later teed up the forward to score early in the second half and get his first goal of the season after struggling at the start of his second campaign since suffering a serious knee injury in July 2019.

“I’m really pleased for Asensio, he had a big injury and he’s much better now and improving with every game,” said Zidane.

The Frenchman also praised Vazquez, who returned to the side earlier in the season as a back up to the injured Dani Carvajal but has kept his place as a winger since the defender’s return.

He started ahead of record signing Eden Hazard on Saturday although the Belgian came on in the second half.

“Lucas is doing so well. He’s very reliable, very focused and it was only a matter of time before he started playing like this,” Zidane said.

“We played very well today, we keep picking up points and that’s not easy to do.”

Real top of the standings with 36 points, one ahead of Atletico Madrid, who have three games in hand.