Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari praised his team for getting their season back on track after beating Sevilla 2-0 at the Bernabeu.
Amid Sevilla’s stubbornness and a lack of ambition that meant they appeared content only to defend, Real gradually wore the visitors down to secure the three points.
The victory takes the European champions up to third place in LaLiga and puts space between them and Sevilla, who fall to fourth.
Casemiro’s stunning late strike and Luka Modric’s stoppage-time finish secured Madrid’s victory, and Solari said: “We’re back on the road to winning games.
“They performed brilliantly. It’s difficult to pick out any one name. It paid off, every player fought hard, we played some good football and pressured high, I would like to congratulate the players on their efforts.
“It’s always more than just the three points when you’re up against a direct rival, because one team gets the points and the other loses them.”
The game looked to be drifting towards a goalless draw when Madrid, who came into the weekend 10 points behind leaders Barcelona, took the lead 12 minutes from time through Casemiro’s thunderbolt.
The Brazil midfielder smashed home a 30-yard shot into the top corner to spark jubilant celebrations from the home side.
Solari added in his post-match press conference, as reported by the club’s website: “The celebration was worthy of Casemiro’s wonderful goal, and it was tense because I couldn’t see if it was going in or not.
“It was a fantastic effort, not only because of the significance of the game, but because we needed that breakthrough.”
Real then secured victory in stoppage time when Modric robbed Daniel Carrico of possession before charging into the area and coolly finishing past Tomas Vaclik.
“(Modric) was outstanding. Considering he had big gash that they had to stitch up. He’s a fighter, he played a wonderful second half, split his eyebrow, then after 15 minutes on the stretcher while they patched him up, he came and got the goal at the end,” Solari said.
“That speaks volumes about the spirit in this team. It was a very complete performance.
“We are on the way to our aim, to keep winning games. We will not give up.
“We are fighting in three competitions till the last as always. For Real Madrid nothing is impossible. ”
Sevilla beat Madrid 3-0 at home earlier in the season to extend their unbeaten record against the capital club at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan to five games, four of which have been wins.
However, trips to Madrid have been far less fruitful for the Andalusians and Saturday’s loss means Sevilla have now been defeated in 14 successive games at the Bernabeu.
Coach Pablo Machin said on his club’s website: “We competed pretty well in the first half, Madrid pushed from the start but we had the same amount of chances.
“In the second half you have to recognise that they were better, they have made us suffer in defence.
“We couldn’t do much to prevent the goal from Casemiro. From the 80th minute we’ve not been able to react against a Madrid who, probably, have been the best they have been in recent games.”