Real Madrid defender Pepe insists his team-mates have healed the wounds from Cristiano Ronaldo’s outburst after the Madrid derby and called on the team to keep on a winning run after beating Levante 3-1.
Ronaldo put Madrid in front from the penalty spot and an own goal by Levante goalkeeper Diego Marino soon doubled their advantage, while Isco added to the scoring in injury time after Deyverson had pulled one back for Levante.
Pepe sought to draw a line under Ronaldo’s words after the game, telling Canal Plus: “It’s in the past now. We talked about it and we are all in this together, just like the coach said.
“We have to keep working hard and run through walls for this shirt because lots of people around the world suffer when we lose. We have to keep working hard with humility.
“Here the team showed that we can fight a lot, we came under a lot of pressure.”
Meanwhile, Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane praised his side’s ability to win the match despite missing six regular starters.
“It wasn’t easy at the start and we got the three points through effort,” he told a press conference.
“We played how we wanted to and how I expected us to.
“Four or five of our players were knackered at the end but that’s normal. I was impressed with the performance of every player. When players don’t play very often it can be difficult to perform out there, but that wasn’t the case here.”
Zidane also praised 18-year-old Borja Mayoral, who marked his first start for Madrid by forcing Marino’s own goal, the goalkeeper accidentally bundling the ball over the line after the striker’s shot had hit the post.
“Borja is our second centre forward, we know what he can give us. He is playing well and training well, he’s committed and he’s still very young, he’s confident and has a lot of character,” he said.
“We want academy players to come through, not just because they are from the academy, but because they always give their all.”
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