Zidane: 'Being top means nothing yet'

A five-point gap to Barcelona at the top of La Liga "means nothing" for Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane at this stage of the season.

The result puts the Madrid five points clear of Barcelona ahead of its trip to Valencia on Sunday.   -  Getty Images

Zinedine Zidane has warned Real Madrid that La Liga's title race is far from over, despite its five-point gap at the top of the table.

Madrid claimed what could prove to be a crucial 2-1 win away to Athletic Bilbao on Saturday courtesy of goals from Karim Benzema and Casemiro, either side of an Aritz Aduriz header.

The result puts the European champions five points clear of Barcelona ahead of its trip to Valencia on Sunday and guarantees that it will head into the international break as leaders.

But with games against Atletico Madrid, Barca and Sevilla still to come in the final 11 rounds, Zidane has told his players not to rest on their laurels.

"We won on a difficult pitch," he said. "We suffered a huge amount but we played with personality at the same time.

"We know Athletic will not give up until the end and they cause us some problems. They got a goal in the second half when they were playing well.

"It was important to win - we're still on a good run. There are 11 games left, we're top, but that means nothing. We know there are still difficult games left."

Zidane took off Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo - who set up both goals - in the second half as Madrid switched to a 4-4-2 system in a bid to contain Athletic's attack and hold on to its lead.

The head coach insisted there were no other concerns surrounding Ronaldo's withdrawal and was happy with the balance it found as it saw out the match with relatively few concerns.

"Karim had a great game, more or less in the middle," he said. "In the end we looked for more balance with a 4-2-2. Taking off Ronaldo doesn't mean anything - he can go off from time to time. He was happy with the match.

"We needed more balance, and to defend more together. Cristiano, Gareth [Bale] and Karim gave a lot - that's why we changed with Isco and [Alvaro] Morata.

"I was happy because we won the game, and that's how I'll stay."

There have been calls for Keylor Navas to be dropped following some poor displays, but the Costa Rica international was in good form at San Mames, denying Inaki Williams, Oscar de Marcos and Raul Garcia with strong saves.

For Zidane, there is no question that Navas is the number one, ahead of Kiko Casilla and Ruben Yanez.

"The debate is closed for me," he added. "We're with Keylor, Kiko and Ruben. We have to continue like that. You can make a mistake, but he made important saves and thanks to him and to the others that we won."

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