Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane praised the professionalism of his players after a much-changed team won 3-1 at Brugge in their final Champions League group fixture.
Los Blancos were already secure of qualification for the knockout stage behind Group A winners Paris St Germain, and have El Clasico on the horizon.
Zidane opted to give rotate the side, with Brazilian teenagers Rodrygo and Vinicius both on target against the Belgians, who had briefly rallied through an equaliser from Hans Vanaken.
In stoppage time, a vintage finish from veteran playmaker Luka Modric, curling the ball past the goalkeeper from the edge of the penalty area, sealed what had been a hard-earned victory.
“We were delighted with this win, mostly because we put in a serious performance. I’m satisfied with the guys I chose and what they produced,” Zidane said.
“I reckon we deserved the three points because we were very effective in front of goal. Club Brugge had their merits, but we dominated the second half.”
Zidane added at a press conference: “Obviously I’m thrilled for Vinicius and Rodrygo for their goals, but more for the quality of all-round game they produced.”
After resting the likes of captain Sergio Ramos and Toni Kroos, while France forward Karim Benzema had started on the bench, Zidane will take his time before deciding on how best to approach Sunday’s LaLiga game at Valencia.
“We are happy with the victory, now we have to rest well and tomorrow we will start thinking about the next game,” the Real Madrid coach said.
Wales forward Gareth Bale was among the substitutes following his return from a hamstring problem, but did not get sent on.
Zidane said: “Three changes had to be made and I chose another (player). It is done, there is nothing else (behind the decision).”
With PSG thrashing Galatasaray 5-0 in the other Group A match, Brugge were at least secured of further European progress, whatever the final result at the Jan Breydel Stadion.
Brugge coach Philippe Clement felt his players should be proud of their efforts.
“We showed guts in every match, played a high pressure game against two of the best teams in the world and played good football,” he said.
“What we can’t forget is how our young players evolved in this competition.
“If you compare it to the very best teams, we can improve in finishing. Then again, if I look at how we play under pressure against Real and PSG, we have made huge steps already.”
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