Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice from the penalty spot as Real Madrid saw off Valencia to ease the pressure on boss Zinedine Zidane.
It saw fourth-placed Real close the gap on the hosts to two points, with a game in hand, although they remain 16 points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona.
Isco continues to be left out in favour of starting BBC with it clear the French coach feels Los Blancos’ best chance of Champions League glory is by re-establishing the expensive forward line.
With regards to Isco, despite signing a massive contract extension earlier in the season and producing some of his finest football, the team has recorded another fantastic victory without him in the team.
The thrashings of Sevilla and Deportivo la Coruna at home didn’t include the former Malaga playmaker, and he is rapidly becoming a bit-part option for the French coach yet again.
Ronaldo converted after being fouled in the box and added a second following a push on Karim Benzema before half-time.
100 – Cristiano Ronaldo has scored his 100th penalty goal in all competitions (clubes + country 🇵🇹). Punisher. pic.twitter.com/ye8wFzL2R7
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 27, 2018
Keylor Navas was once again a star, pulling off a number of key saves to prevent the hosts from scoring more than their sole strike.
The Costa Rican took the opportunity to show his value at a time when Kepa Arrizabalaga, David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois have all recently been linked with moves to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
Valencia’s Santi Mina eventually pulled one back, before Marcelo added a third for Real Madrid.
Toni Kroos then put the game beyond the hosts with a superb long-range strike for Zidane’s side one minute from time.
Zidane said he was enduring his “worst moment” as Real Madrid coach after the European champions were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Leganes on Wednesday at the Bernabeu.
The Frenchman also suggested his future at the club depends on whether they can beat Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League last-16 next month.
Zidane was in a much more upbeat mood after his side’s first league away win since 14 October.
“This was a big game in a big stadium and we played with great character,” said the Real boss.
“It shows we are still here and that we are ready to fight.
“There’s a long way top go in the league and we will do our best possible.”