Zinedine Zidane was full of praise for Isco and Alvaro Morata after the duo helped Real Madrid to a victory over Villarreal

Real Madrid could not afford another loss after last week’s disappointing loss to Valencia but had to fight back from being 2-0 down to mount a remarkable comeback against Fran Escriba’s side to return to the top of the La Liga standings.

Gareth Bale headed in Real’s first goal before a controversial handball decision gave Real a penalty, which Cristiano Ronaldo slotted away to equalise with the hosts. Substitute Alvaro Morata then headed in a winner three minutes from time to secure three points for Madrid.

Speaking after the match, Zinedine Zidane hailed substitutes Alvaro Morata and Isco as their introduction turned the tide of the game Real Madrid’s way. Zidane admitted that Madrid had to change their tactics in order to combat Villarreal and was pleased with the result.

“At 2-0 down we had to change something. We did so and it worked out well for us. We made an attacking change and enjoyed more possession in their half. We had to be patient and our substitutions ended up changing the game. It was important for us to get the three points to remain top,” he said, according to the club’s official website.

“There’s no doubt that Isco and Morata deserve to get more minutes. They did very well and changed the game for us. I’m certain that we’ll need to call on the whole squad. I gave Morata a couple of tactical bits of advice and told him he needed to be in the box to finish any chances and for him to stick on Bruno in the middle when we were defending. He got his goal and we’re all happy”.

VILLARREAL, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 26: Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane looks on during the La Liga match between Villarreal CF and Real Madrid at Estadio de la Ceramica on February 26, 2017 in Villarreal, Spain. (Photo by Fotopress/Getty Images)

VILLARREAL, SPAIN – FEBRUARY 26: Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane looks on during the La Liga match between Villarreal CF and Real Madrid at Estadio de la Ceramica on February 26, 2017 in Villarreal, Spain. (Photo by Fotopress/Getty Images)

The result means that Real Madrid have now regained their spot at the top of the table and lead Barcelona – who defeated Atletico Madrid 2-1 earlier last night – by one point, although Los Blancos do have a game in hand.

It will also do this Madrid side a world of good as they were suffering a crisis of confidence after a few disappointing results in 2017. There are still reasons to worry, however, as the way Real allowed Villarreal to take the lead will not sit well with Zidane.

For now the Frenchman will be content with the much-needed three points and will be hoping that the result can help Madrid embark on another long unbeaten run as they push for the La Liga title.

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