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Zidane lauds Madrid as persistence pays off

Real Madrid showed patience is a virtue as head coach Zinedine Zidane praised his players for their persistence in Sunday's late win over Real Betis.

Captain Sergio Ramos stepped up to be the hero again for Madrid with his 81st-minute goal in the 2-1 LaLiga victory at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Cristiano Ronaldo had cancelled out Betis' 24th-minute opener before the break but the match appeared to be petering out for a draw until Ramos completed another late escape as Madrid returned to the top of the table following Barcelona's 2-1 loss at Deportivo La Coruna.

"My evaluation of the match is very good because we picked up the three points," Zidane said.

"We didn't have it all our own way and that’s normal, but I am happy. We must congratulate all the players because we've had to be patient, the result in the end is a fair one, even if at times it didn't all go our way.
"The opposition played in their own half, they defended well and caused us problems on the counter-attack. We're happy with the result and we must congratulate the players because it wasn't easy. The pressure is there, it doesn't end here, there's still a lot to play for and we know that."

Zidane also leapt to the defence of goalkeeper Keylor Navas, whose own goal gifted the visitors the lead in the Spanish capital.

"It's part of the game, everyone makes mistakes. In the end he saved us. I’m happy with how his team-mates got behind him," added Zidane, who said defender Raphael Varane is unlikely to be fit for the trip to Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

The save he made has given us the three points. The referee decides whether or not it’s a penalty. Keylor has a big personality and he made a great stop at the end. He made up for the mistake and made sure we got all three points."