Isco has praised Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane for backing him despite the Spain international revealing he was lacking confidence in himself before a two-goal showing in Saturday’s 6-1 drubbing of Real Betis.
The former Malaga midfielder has been strongly linked with a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu after struggling to consistently live up to the expectations many have of him.
Isco had fallen well down the pecking order at the LaLiga club at the beginning of the season, but he enjoyed a fine display at the Benito Villamarin as he scored two excellent goals and he hailed Zidane’s handling of him.
“We needed a game like that,” he told reporters. “I needed a little confidence and that’s what I gained. I have lacked minutes and I still hope to slowly pick up more.
“I lack confidence in myself, but the coach has given me confidence from the outset.
“When things do not go as you’d hoped you have to work harder than before, work every day and seize opportunities.”
Zidane himself was relieved after the comprehensive victory brought an end to a four-match winless run in all competitions and he urged his team to continue replicating the intensity they displayed in Seville if they wish to become consistent.
“I am very pleased,” he added. “After four draws we had to make a game like that. That was the intensity we needed.
“There are no small teams but we started strong and it is difficult for the opponent when we start that way.
“Hopefully [the winless run] will not happen again. If we get the intensity of today from the beginning we will lose less points.
“The players know that it is difficult for the opponent when we play well, but we must continue working as we are.
“It would be good to not return to a streak of draws.”