Raphael Varane said Real Madrid cannot expect to win easily every week after Julen Lopetegui's side battled to a tight 1-0 victory against Espanyol.

With Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Toni Kroos all rested by Lopetegui, it was down to Marco Asensio to hit a first-half winner against his former club.

Madrid went top of the table - at least temporarily, as Barcelona play Girona on Sunday - but Varane noted it will not always be comfortable for his team.

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"We're not going to win 5-0 every game," the France defender said to beIN SPORTS . "We're going to sweat and we need everyone, we're going to give everything to get the title.

"We have the ball, but it's hard to hurt the opponent. We created danger but not as much as in other games. The result is very good.

"They are a team that has many weapons and that presses well. We played as a team."

Asensio spent the 2015-16 season on loan at Espanyol and came back to haunt his previous side with his first La Liga goal since February, the arrowed strike surviving a review for offside.

The Spain international said Madrid expected a tough workout after beating Roma 3-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday.

"We knew that we were facing a great team, very hard working," Asensio added. "It's complicated after the Champions League effort. The three points are important. In the second half our fatigue was noticed.

"In the first half we were better, we moved the ball better, in the second half we lacked patience and went from side to side.

"We go to Sevilla [on Wednesday] … that pitch is very tight. Sevilla are a great team, but we will go there to win."