Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari described himself as “satisfied” after their hard-fought 1-0 win over Rayo Vallecano
Karim Benzema got the match-winner in the 13th-minute for Real at the Santiago Bernabeu for only his second goal in 13 La Liga games.
Lucas Vazquez and Toni Kroos came close to getting on the scoresheet themselves, while captain Sergio Ramos had a goal ruled out for offside.
But Real had goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to thank for his late heroics on Saturday night after superbly denying former Manchester United striker Bebe and Alex Alegria in the dying moments of the game.
“I’m satisfied, we put in a very good first-half performance,” said Solari on the club website.
“We dominated the ball, made the most of the space, created chances and pressed very well.
“We should have gone in with a bigger lead at the break. That’s football, when you’re not clinical you know you’ll have to dig in at some point.
“We had chances in the second half as well, Asensio’s for instance, and we didn’t give away any chances until right at the end”.
“The opposition play some good stuff too, Rayo move the ball well if you leave spaces and they’re capable of playing nice football.
“The pace dropped in the second half but we didn’t give them a sniff until the final minute and Courtois did brilliantly.
“When you don’t kill the game off, these things will happen. The opposition wants to score too. I’d be more concerned if we weren’t creating the chances”.
However, Real will face an anxious wait for further updates on Benzema and Marco Asensio after their withdrawal from the game.
The pair are now doubts for Wednesday’s Club World Cup semi-final against Kashima Antlers in the United Arab Emirates.
“We’ll have to see, we haven’t had a chance to have a look,” said Solari.
“I believe that it’s a knock and we’ll have a look at it on the plane, because we haven’t got much time now. Marco also picked up a knock”.
Los Blancos are just two points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona, who play at Levante later today.