Real Madrid coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo says
his team showed the stuff of champions in grinding out a 2-1 win over
Osasuna at the weekend.
The pressure was on Real after Primera Liga leaders Barcelona thumped
Real Zaragoza 4-1 away on Saturday to open a seven-point gap at the top.
Real recovered from a goal down in a rain-lashed El Sadar on Sunday to
cut the deficit back to four.
"I am very pleased with the result. We have shown the spirit of
champions in overcoming a really motivated opponent," Luxemburgo said.
"We are still only second but we have kept our chances of winning the
league alive. If we want to top the table we have to be prepared to
fight and that's what we have done."
Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas proved to be the difference between the
two sides, making some crucial interventions before and after Pierre
Webo had given Osasuna the lead.
Real punished Osasuna keeper Ricardo Sanzol twice in the space of three
minutes near the end. With 13 minutes left he failed to hold Roberto
Carlos' fierce free kick, which allowed Michael Owen to level, and then
fumbled David Beckham's free kick to gift Ivan Helguera the winner.
"With 15 minutes to go I still believed we could win. You always have a
lot of free kicks on small grounds like this, and with this kind of
weather, we had the chances," Luxemburgo said. The Brazilian coach
brought on Owen after 73 minutes and was rewarded with the equaliser
just three minutes later, as the England striker once again proved his
value to the club.
"I don't mind coming off the bench, the important thing is to help the
team. My goal...may prove to be vital come the end of the season," said
the England striker.
"On a personal level it has given me a boost in confidence and this
victory has strengthened the team's resolve."