Zinedine Zidane's managerial debut at the helm of Real Madrid couldn't have unfolded any better.
The Frenchman guided his team to a five-nil drubbing of Deportivo de La Coruña at home in the Santiago Bernabéu. His triumph was impressive considering Deportivo has by no means been a slouch thus far this season but he still faces a number of challenges going forward. Winning over the dressing room, if he hasn't done it already, will be vital in addition to improving his club's form against fellow title contenders Barcelona and Atlético Madrid.
However, before he gets his first crack at El Clásico as a head coach, Zidane must maneuver a rumor-filled January transfer window. Without further ado, here is our formula to achieving success in the first month of the new year:
Don't allow Isco to leave the Santiago Bernabéu
Madridistas are well accustom to these rumors by now but just last week under the reign of Rafa Benítez, Real Madrid's No. 23 was linked with nearly every top-notch club in Europe. Football Espana reported that Benítez lost faith in Isco following "incidents of misbehavior." Backing up reports, the playmaker was on the bench for the final two matches of Benítez's managership.
However, Zidane's appointment now changes everything. Isco was given the nod Saturday and didn't seem to have missed a step. He appeared confident on the ball, operating in the midfield spraying passes out wide into dangerous areas. He linked up play between the attack and defense faultlessly and presented a case for a starting job going forward, or at least for next weekend.
Contento por la victoria y feliz por volver a disfrutar del futbol⚽️⚽️ https://t.co/6JI4BG5Wa5— ISCO ALARCON (@isco_alarcon) January 9, 2016
Pass on David De Gea, for at least now
Until David De Gea is no longer wearing Manchester United's iconic badge on his left side, the Spanish international will be linked with Real Madrid in each transfer window. While the move remains expected at some point down the road, the 25-year-old isn't needed in the Spanish capital at the moment.
Zidane will aim to re-establish stability within the locker room. The easiest way to do this? Don't introduce any new megastars that will disrupt the starting-11. Bringing in De Gea will most definitely do this as it will force Keylor Navas to the bench despite not warranting a demotion. Navas has been solid for Los Blancos up to this point. He's bailed out his defense on numerous occasions, most recently on Saturday denying Lucas early on while the match was still scoreless. Without the Costa Rican's heroics, Zidane's debut could've unfolded differently. Furthermore, Navas has posted eight clean sheets this season, third most in La Liga and two more than De Gea.
Re-establish winning ways
We're beating a dead horse, but Zizou is off to a terrific start. Five goals scored, three from his magisterial winger Gareth Bale and two from his prolific striker Karim Benzema. His first match will be remembered and cherished for years to come but looking forward, Zidane will need to carry each week's positive performance into the next. Luckily for Zidane, Real Madrid are back at the Santiago Bernabéu again this weekend, welcoming Sporting Gijon. The favorable matchup presents Zidane with yet another chance to capture three points and an additional opportunity to prove doubters wrong.
His squad is showing an increased sense of urgency and an improved work rate at all 11 positions just after one game. He'll be demanding more and more from his players as his tenure progresses and if his squad responds like they did Saturday, there's no doubt Real Madrid will enter February unbeaten under Zidane.