BARCELONA, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos praised his side for sticking together and digging deep to beat Barcelona 3-1 in La Liga on Saturday after a nightmarish week in which they suffered shock defeats by Cadiz and Shakhtar Donetsk.
Ramos scored a crucial penalty in the second half to put Madrid in front again after Barca’s Ansu Fati had cancelled out Federico Valverde’s opener, while Luka Modric made sure of the points for the La Liga champions with a stoppage time strike.
“We knew how to brush aside the criticism. We had to be united after an awful week for us, there was no time for us to sulk,” Ramos told reporters.
“Overall we played very well, we showed lots of commitment today and proved that criticism doesn’t damage us and that we’ll always keep on going. This win will do a lot for our mental strength.”
Ramos, who is the longest serving player still at Madrid and on Saturday made a 45th appearance in the ‘Clasico’, is well used to a poor run of results from his side being blown out of proportion.
“I’ve spent 16 years here and a crisis can start after two bad games. Over the course of a season you always go through bad runs and let’s hope this one only lasts one week,” he said.
“The negative energy festers around the dressing room after defeats like the ones we had but it’s up to the most experienced players to get rid of it. This team has won so much but we want to keep winning and we are going about that the right way.”
Real coach Zinedine Zidane struggled to explain how his side could play so well against Barca so soon after their haggard displays against Cadiz and Shakhtar.
“Sometimes there’s no explanation but we’re just focusing on what we did today and we want to keep playing like that,” he said.
“I don’t know if the criticism was fair or unfair, all I can say is I’m proud of my players. We’ve beaten a team that always causes you problems. We should enjoy this after everything that has been said about us.” (Reporting by Richard Martin Editing by Christian Radnedge)
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