Zidane takes responsibility for poor first-half showing in Madrid derby

Real Madrid was second best in the first half of its derby win over Atletico Madrid, with coach Zinedine Zidane taking responsibility.

Zinedine Zidane

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane changed the course of the match with the double substitution of Vinicius Jr and Lucas Vazquez.   -  Getty Images

Zinedine Zidane accepted responsibility for Real Madrid's sluggish display in the first half of its derby victory over Atletico Madrid.

Karim Benzema's goal early in the second half secured a 1-0 win for Los Blancos at Santiago Bernabeu, extending Madrid's lead over second-placed Barcelona to six points.

However, Madrid was certainly second best before the break and was fortunate not to have gone behind, with Vitolo going close and Angel Correa hitting the woodwork.

Zidane made two changes at the break, introducing Vinicius Jr - who played a key part in Benzema's winner - and Lucas Vazquez, with Federico Valverde, who had started out wide, moving inside.

"I was not happy with what I saw on the pitch in the first half. But it was not the players' fault, it was my responsibility," Zidane told a news conference.

Read: Benzema winner sends Real six points clear of Barcelona

"So I changed Isco and Toni [Kroos], but it could have been another two. A change was needed.

"Five in midfield has worked before. But not today, we found it hard to get into the game, were not good with the ball. But in the end when things are not working, you must change it, I am here for that too.

"We began the second half in a different way, opening up the pitch, pressuring up high. We were better in everything, we deserved to win and take the three points. We cannot always play really well from the first minute."

Madrid is clear in LaLiga and also into the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey, while it faces Manchester City in the last-16 of the Champions League.

Zidane, though, would not be drawn on any talk of a potential domestic and European treble.

"No. We are just happy to have won a difficult game today," ZIdane said. "We have many difficult games left, in the Copa, LaLiga and Champions League. We've won nothing yet, just the Supercopa, and the path is very long."

Atleti's defeat means it has now lost three of its last four matches in all competitions and is 13 points behind its city rival in LaLiga.

"We are worried by the situation, for sure," Diego Simeone told a news conference.

"We know we need to work hard to turn things around. We will be getting back players soon, and need to keep competing in the league and Champions League."

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