Santiago Solari feels Real Madrid “showed their character” after recovering from going a goal down to thrash Real Valladolid 4-1 at the end of a damaging week.
The pressure on the Madrid head coach has intensified following their elimination in the Champions League at the hands of Ajax on Tuesday.
Knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Barcelona and 12 points adrift of their fierce rivals in LaLiga, it is highly unlikely Madrid will be lifting a trophy at the end of the season.
Their misery would have deepened when they fell a goal down at the Estadio Municipal Jose Zorrilla on Sunday evening as Anuar Tuhami put Valladolid ahead just before the half hour mark.
Valladolid had already missed a penalty and seen two goals chalked off by this point but their opponents rallied and Raphael Varane equalised before Karim Benzema’s second-half brace put them firmly in control.
The Frenchman put the visitors ahead from the spot after Alvaro Odriozola was upended and then headed home Toni Kroos’ corner before Luka Modric struck late on for Real, who had Casemiro sent off.
Victory against a side battling to retain their league status is unlikely to strengthen Solari’s position but he nevertheless reflected on a job well done.
He said in quotes on Madrid’s website: “It was a difficult week for everyone, also for the players, the first 20 or 25 minutes reflected that and it cost us.
“We dug in during the early stages and in the rest of the game the players came back in to it. It was a difficult game and the players reacted and showed their character.
“This is a group of great players and people with big characters.
“This victory was built on professionalism, spirit and reaction to adversity. The players put all their effort and commitment in to achieve our objective.
“We came to a difficult stadium against a team in need of points who made things difficult for us. This fills us with pride because it is a group of big professionals.
“We’re working the same as ever. There’s lots of noise surrounding us at the moment and that’s to be expected after this last week.
“It’s been a difficult spell but it’s important to see a reaction and to show character in adversity. We’re working with that same spirit we always have.
“(On Monday) we’ll be back at it in preparation for picking up the next three points and attempting to cut the gap if those above us slip up. If not, we’ll try and get the highest total possible.”
Asked whether he expects to be in the dugout for Madrid’s next fixture, the Argentinian responded: “That’s not an assessment for me to make.
“I work with my mind set on the next day, the next training session. That’s all we focus on.”
Valladolid head coach Sergio Gonzalez was left to rue his side’s misfortune on a day where Ruben Alcaraz blazed his penalty over the bar and Sergi Guardiola had two goals ruled out by the video assistant referee for offside.
But after Anuar made the breakthrough, Valladolid were pegged back five minutes later when Jordi Masip’s error allowed Varane to tap in.
Gonzalez said in quotes on his club’s official website: “We started the first part sensationally, we have scored three goals and it has been worth one and we also had a penalty. But in an error the score is 1-1.
“It’s something incredulous, it has not happened to me in my life.”