Zinedine Zidane Talks Luka Modric, Marcelo, More After Real Madrid Beat Granada

Christopher SimpsonFeatured ColumnistFebruary 8, 2016

Real Madrid's Croatian midfielder Luka Modric celebrates a goal during the Spanish league football match Granada FC vs Real Madrid CF at Nuevo Los Carmenes stadium in Granada on February 7, 2016. AFP PHOTO / JORGE GUERRERO / AFP / Jorge Guerrero        (Photo credit should read JORGE GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane admitted Luka Modric's stunning late winner against Granada on Sunday handed Los Blancos "a lifeline" in the title race.

Per Marca, he said: "Modric scored a wonder strike that, as well as earning us three points, has thrown us a lifeline. He should shoot more. Modric can play in many positions and I'm very happy with him."

The game looked to be heading toward a draw after Youssef El Arabi deservedly cancelled out Karim Benzema's opener, but with six minutes of normal time remaining, Modric rocketed a powerful effort into the top corner from 25 yards to make it 2-1.

Sky Sports Statto captured the moment:

Football journalist Dermot Corrigan echoed Zidane's sentiment that Modric had spared their blushes, as did AS English:

Indeed, without him, Real would be six points behind Barcelona—who have a game in hand—and three behind Atletico Madrid, whom they face at the end of the month.

Daniel Tejedor/Associated Press

The goal was no less than the midfielder deserved after he dominated proceedings from the centre of the park and sprayed a number of delightful passes forward. Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe thought as much:

Zidane also gave the latest update on his players' fitness after the match, but he remains in the dark over Marcelo, who "picked up a knock," according to Marca's report: "[Dani] Carvajal is fine, it's no big deal. We don't know what's wrong with Marcelo yet."

Los Blancos have picked up four wins and a draw under Zidane, who praised his side for coming through a difficult game with a victory. He said:

People have to remember that you've always got another team and their fans against you. I'm going to focus on the victory today. We're Real Madrid, but Granada also have players who can cause you trouble. You have to fight to the end. What most impressed me was our attitude.

Real's other three wins under the Frenchman were all comfortable victories at the Santiago Bernabeu, where they scored 16 goals and conceded just one in that time.

However, in their two away games, Madrid drew 1-1 at Sporting Gijon and could have easily drawnor even lostat the Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes on Sunday.

La Liga writer Andrew Gaffney noted their away form has seen little improvement since Zidane took charge:

The manager conceded the team need to improve at both ends of the pitch when on the road: "We need to improve defensively, but we've also got to score more goals so that we can breathe easier."

With back-to-back trips to Roma in the UEFA Champions League and Malaga in La Liga awaiting Los Blancos later in the month, they could do with an immediate upturn in their away form. 

If Real are to win any trophies this season, they need to produce more convincing results on their travels.