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Real Madrid 2 - 0 Valencia
A class performance from the Real Madrid side. This makes three consecutive LaLiga wins. Valencia were disinterested and poor, but Real Madrid did well to establish control of the match through sharp football. Los Blancos return to five points shy of LaLiga leaders Atlético, who still have two matches in hand.
Toni Kroos received acclaim for his performance. He talks to the press after the match:
InfiniteMadrid has Kroos articulating a bit more of his view on the game:
️ @ToniKroos: "We want to keep possession in games and take advantage of our quality on the ball. It's a necessity - we need to do it so the competitor is running more than us, that's my opinion."— Infinite Madrid (@InfiniteMadrid) February 14, 2021
UtdArena has a post that compiles his performances of late:
In his last four games, Toni Kroos has had 420 touches on the ball, completed 344/361 passes (95%) but still created 17 chances with four assists. He's also completed 45/50 long balls (90%) on top. This is all from the centre of midfield!— UtdArena (@utdarena) February 14, 2021
He's on a different level. pic.twitter.com/9reMv4xeGZ
Arch Bell of Marca summarizes the match, including Karim’s elegant strike but also the poor level of the competition this round:
Toni Kroos scored and served up an assist to help ease Real Madrid past Valencia 2-0 on Sunday afternoon at the Estadio Alfredo di Stefano in Madrid.
A screamer from Karim Benzema off a pass from Kroos opened the scoring before the German fired in a strike shortly before half-time for the two Real Madrid goals. The hosts from the capital were the better side from start to finish against a poor Valencia that produced some fairly woeful football in the first 45 minutes.
Los Blancos were exhibiting a patient approach with their possession football and were happy to take advantage of Valencia’s lack of urgency to grab a 2-0 lead into the half-time dressing room.
Raphael Varane seemed to be feeling it, coming to maraud forward several times in this match, getting involved in the attack to good effect. He posted this:
Nacho, coiffure in place as always, has been admirably ready to come in to Real Madrid’s back line. He exudes the consummate team mentality:
Real Madrid video: Behind the Scenes.
Ferland Mendy and Luka Modric
Emily Wilson in Managing Madrid’s player ratings makes valid points about the variety of roles Mendy has been taking on and also the continued level of Los Blancos great #10:
Ferland Mendy — 8: Talk about versatility in a player. Mendy executed his strengths in both defence and attack against Valencia. Made darting runs all night and worked well with Vini Jr. down the left. Scored a goal but it was disallowed, had another chance but couldn’t capitalize. Finished with 90% pass completion, one dribble, one aerial won and one tackle.
Luka Modric — 8.5: Still can’t believe how Modric is playing so well at this age, may it last forever. Against Valencia he was a key figure for Madrid, intercepting passes and regaining possession for Zidane’s side. Finished with 90% pass completion, four shots, three key passes and two dribbles. Substituted after 79 minutes.
Euan McTear in his “Three answers and three questions…” sees the manager’s influence in these creative runs from Mendy:
3. Is Mendy a false nine now?
Ferland Mendy’s recent forays forward have been… interesting. After he scored against Getafe in midweek from a Marcelo cross, he was back in the opposition penalty area again in this game and even had another goal, only for it to be ruled out for a slight offside. It’s interesting to see Mendy contributing so much more in attack and it has been happening so much that you have to assume this isn’t just coincidence. Instead, this must be what Zidane is instructing him to do. There’s still a lot to improve when it comes to the attacking side of Mendy’s game, but if he keeps getting better in this sense then there’s reason for optimism.
Managing Madrid Post-game Podcast
Kiyan Sobhani and Euan McTear discuss all of the relevant topics and more. https://www.managingmadrid.com/2021/2/14/22283216/managing-madrid-podcast-valencia-valentines-day-special