Real Madrid did not play one of their best games of the season on Saturday afternoon, especially given their last few performances, but Los Blancos‘ 2-1 victory against Alaves at the Estadio de Mendizorroza is a sign that Zinedine Zidane‘s side are now able to win in stadiums where they would have lost last season.
Zidane admitted in his post-match press conference that it is in grounds such as Mendizorroza that you come expecting to fight in order to pick up all three points, and that’s what they did.
And that is why Real Madrid are at the top of LaLiga Santander, because last year they fell at stadiums such as Eibar‘s Ipurua and Alaves‘ Mendizorroza, thus dropping six points in the process, but this season they have beaten Eibar 4-0 away from home and then won 2-1 in Vitoria on Saturday.
Real Madrid have lost just one game in LaLiga Santander this season – a 1-0 defeat away at Real Mallorca – and they added to their impressive record with their win at Alaves, which sent them top as outright leaders, three points ahead of Barcelona, who play Atletico Madrid on Sunday night.
Zidane has put a lot of importance on winning LaLiga Santander because he knows that it is the competition that measures the commitment of his players on a week-to-week basis.
The loss in Mallorca was a turning point because since then, Real Madrid have only dropped points against Real Betis in LaLiga Santander, their fourth and thus far last in the Spanish top flight. The rest have all been victories, except for a draw against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, where they played very well but conceded two late goals.
Real Madrid were able to deal with Alaves on their visit to Vitoria, and they are aware that the other title challenges will likely drop points at stadiums such as Mendizorroza.