Zinedine Zidane called for improvements in Real Madrid's finishing after his side needed a late Nacho goal to clinch a 1-0 victory over Real Valladolid at Estadio Jose Zorrilla on Sunday.

Nacho connected with a Toni Kroos cross to head Madrid in front after 78 minutes of a tightly contested match to earn Zidane's men a win that moved them three points clear at the top of LaLiga.

Zidane praised his defence after Valladolid failed to register a shot on target but said more creativity is required to ensure struggling opponents are beaten more convincingly.

"Defensively, what we are doing, we are doing well. It is our strength," Zidane told reporters. 

"We defend all and when we lose the ball we recover it very high, and if we keep it we have a good chance of scoring.

"Nacho scored and that is part of football. We know that we can improve in this aspect.

"Nacho is a professional. When he has to compete he does well. I'm glad for his goal; he doesn't usually score them but from time-to-time we can also create chances for defenders."

Zidane refused to be drawn on his side's title chances despite opening up a gap over rivals Barcelona, who lost 2-0 to Valencia on Saturday.

Madrid have been beaten only once in the league this season but with 17 games remaining, including the visit of Barcelona on March 1, Zidane predicted a tough road ahead.

"For us, nothing changes," said Zidane. "We are happy with the victory, the work done having fought until the end, but nothing changes. There are 17 games left and we will continue fighting until the end.

"I don't want to talk about being champions because there is still a lot left to play.

"It changes nothing to be leaders, they are three important points but nothing more.

"There are a lot of league games left and it will be difficult for all teams, including us."

Madrid's next game is at home to city rivals Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

 

Neymar has paid tribute to Kobe Bryant after the basketball icon was killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar scored twice as the Ligue 1 leaders ran out 2-0 victors over Lille, and dedicated his second goal to Bryant by holding up two fingers on one hand and four on the other – Bryant having worn the number 24 jersey for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Following the final whistle, Neymar – a basketball fan – hailed Bryant's impact, stating his death is a sad moment for the entire world of sport.

"I looked at the messages at half-time," Neymar told Canal+. "This is a time of immense sadness for the world of sport and for all of us, not just basketball fans.

"I knew him and I made this celebration to pay tribute to him. I hope he rests in peace."

Bryant won five NBA championships and made 18 NBA All-Star teams during a 20-year stint with the Lakers.

Maurizio Sarri said he was happy for Napoli after his former side inflicted a second Serie A loss of the season on Juventus, who missed the chance to move six points clear of Inter.

Although Cristiano Ronaldo scored for the eighth game in a row, it was too little and too late for the champions after goals from Piotr Zielinski and Lorenzo Insigne put Napoli 2-0 ahead on Sunday.

There were anti-Sarri chants and banners on his return to the Stadio San Paolo, but the coach was glad to see Napoli arrest their slump, even against his current club.

"I am happy for the lads, as I will always be fond of them," he told Sky Sport Italia after Juve's five-game winning streak in Serie A ended.

"If you have to lose, I guess I'd rather it be here to help Napoli get out of their current problems. I'd rather they started winning next week, of course.

"Clearly, the game takes over and you have to detach yourself from everything around that. Napoli represented a special moment in my life and it's always pleasing and emotional to be back here.

"We should have felt more motivated to break away [from Inter] rather than less, otherwise this will mean we are weak. I would hope not.

"If that situation weighed on us, even unconsciously, it means we are not ready yet."

Napoli's first home league win since October followed a midweek Coppa Italia victory over Lazio, but head coach Gennaro Gattuso is not getting carried away with his side's improvement.

"I go home tonight and will still keep thinking about the [2-0] defeat to Fiorentina, because that was just shocking," Gattuso told Sky Sport Italia.

"We beat two good teams now, fine, but we are still in trouble, still a long way back and need to keep pushing.

"I congratulate the lads for the work they've done over the last seven days, but we have to keep going like this now, do not let up, focus on Napoli 24 hours a day.

"We didn't do that well in possession today, but did far better when covering, blocking off the passes and the overlapping runs were timed properly.

"I was angry at the Ronaldo goal, because we can't let anything slip at the moment."

Real Madrid moved three points clear at the top of LaLiga after Nacho scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Real Valladolid at Estadio Jose Zorrilla.

With title rivals Barcelona slipping to a 2-0 defeat to Valencia on Saturday, Zidane's men earned a hard-fought victory over a Valladolid side that came into the game unbeaten in three league matches.

Chances were few and far between at either end and the points looked likely to be shared after Karim Benzema missed from point-blank range with only Valladolid goalkeeper Jordi Masip to beat.

But Nacho arrived in the box to head home with 12 minutes left and put his side in the driving seat at a crucial stage in the title race.

Neymar scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain claimed a hard-earned 2-0 victory over Lille to extend their lead at the top of Ligue 1 to 10 points.

Having opened the scoring with a sublime strike in the 28th minute of Sunday's encounter at Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Neymar doubled his tally with a penalty early in the second half.

After netting his second goal, Neymar appeared to pay tribute to Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who was reported to have died in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

Lille felt harshly treated by the VAR for PSG's second, though they were fortunate Mauro Icardi and Kylian Mbappe squandered chances to further the visitors' lead as a 14-match unbeaten home league run came to an end.

Luiz Araujo's long-range effort forced Keylor Navas into a save nine minutes in as Lille took the game straight to the league leaders.

But a moment of sheer brilliance from Neymar gave PSG the lead, the Brazil star combining with Marco Verratti before curling an exquisite finish into the top-right corner.

Mbappe would have made it 2-0 if not for Gabriel's block, but Lille might have been level had Presnel Kimpembe not got a toe to Victor Osimhen's strike.

With substitute Nianzou Kouassi having denied Osimhen a tap-in, Mike Maignan made a brave stop to keep out Mbappe at the other end moments later, yet to Lille's chagrin, PSG were awarded a penalty for a handball by Reinildo.

Lille's frustration was compounded by the VAR not deeming there to have been a foul by Idrissa Gueye in the build-up, with Neymar's penalty just squeezing beyond Maignan.

Icardi should have done better with a near-post header and Mbappe failed to beat Maignan as PSG looked to add to their lead, but the visitors ultimately settled for a two-goal cushion, while Loic Remy saw a stoppage-time consolation disallowed for offside.
 

What does it mean? PSG put last season's thrashing well behind them

PSG slumped to a shock 5-1 defeat in the corresponding fixture last term, but despite Lille's positive approach, Thomas Tuchel's side just had too much this time around. They are now 10 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 after second-placed Marseille drew at home to Angers.

Neymar lights up the stage with stunning opener

PSG's number 10 missed the chance to set a new club record of goals in consecutive games when he failed to net in the Coupe de la Ligue triumph over Reims last time out, but he rediscovered his scoring form in sensational style here, brilliantly controlling Angel Di Maria's pass before exchanging passes with Verratti and expertly picking out the top corner.

Icardi kept unusually quiet

The form of Inter loanee Icardi has left Edinson Cavani looking for a move away from PSG, but the striker was not at his best on Sunday. Indeed, he only had four touches in Lille's box throughout the 72 minutes he spent on the pitch.

What's next?

Both sides are in Coupe de France action next on Wednesday. PSG visit Pau while Lille face Epinal.

Juventus suffered a 2-1 loss at Napoli on Sunday, ending the Serie A champions' run of five straight wins in the league.

Piotr Zielinski scored the opening goal of the game midway through the second half, finishing on the rebound after Wojciech Szczesny pushed Lorenzo Insigne's shot back into the danger zone.

Napoli had lost four home league games in a row but climb to 10th in the table after Insigne volleyed in a second, Maurizio Sarri's return to Stadio San Paolo ending in Juve's second league defeat of the season. 

Cristiano Ronaldo hit a late reply but Juve missed the chance to move further ahead of nearest title rivals Inter and remain three points clear in top spot.

August's reverse fixture was a seven-goal thriller, Juve 2-0 ahead inside 20 minutes though needing Kalidou Koulibaly's late own goal to seal a 4-3 win, but this time half-time arrived with a single shot on target.

Arkadiusz Milik's tame header was comfortably saved by Szczesny with Napoli having had the edge in a strangely low-key opening 45 minutes.

Juve lost Miralem Pjanic to injury shortly after the break, the midfielder having been hurt in a tackle from Diego Demme before the break with Adrien Rabiot introduced in his place.

A late offside flag denied Ronaldo a 53rd-minute opener, the Portuguese then tricking his way past Elseid Hysaj to set up Gonzalo Higuain, whose low drive was stopped by Alex Meret.

Juve appeared in control but Napoli broke the deadlock on the counter in the 63rd minute when Szczesny parried Insigne's 25-yard drive and Zielinski was on hand to convert the rebound.

Napoli had penalty appeals rejected when Juan Cuadrado appeared to handle inside the box but the points were sealed by Insigne's strike that deflected in off Matthijs de Ligt in the closing stages.

Ronaldo gave Juve hope, extending his scoring streak to eight games, but when Higuain's overhead kick flew straight at Meret in the 94th minute, Napoli had secured a famous win.


What does it mean? Hope for Inter in title race

Juve - who started with Ronaldo, Higuain and Paulo Dybala all in attack - would have been six points clear had they won, with yet another title surely within their grasp. 

This result will be welcomed by Inter, who earlier in the day were held to a third straight league draw, while Lazio moved five points behind Juve after they drew with rivals Roma.

As for Napoli, a first home league win since October may prove a turning point in their season with results having failed to improve since Gennaro Gattuso was appointed as Carlo Ancelotti's successor.


Di Lorenzo stars as Koulibaly's deputy

Giovanni Di Lorenzo was excellent in the heart of the Napoli defence, showing a calmness in possession and helping to keep Ronaldo and ex-Napoli striker Higuain quiet.


Szczesny error proves costly

With Gianluigi Buffon back on the bench after starting the midweek win over Roma, his replacement Szczesny made a bad mistake to hand Napoli the opening goal. Insigne's strike was not easy to deal with but Szczesny made a mess of his save, presenting Zielinski with a tap-in.


What's next?

Juve will aim to bounce back when they return to action at home to Fiorentina next Sunday, with Napoli away to Sampdoria a day later.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has confirmed he will not take charge of his side's FA Cup fourth-round replay against Shrewsbury Town, with Neil Critchley to lead a young squad.

Jason Cummings came off the bench to score twice on Sunday, earning a 2-2 draw that means League One side Shrewsbury will play a lucrative replay at Anfield early next month.

That game is set to fall within the Premier League's inaugural mid-season break, with Klopp having previously promised his senior stars they would get time off to recover ahead of the run-in.

That means Critchley will be in the dugout, the Liverpool Under-23s coach having overseen an EFL Cup exit to Aston Villa earlier in the season when the Reds were on Club World Cup duty.

"Look, our situation is the following: we have known that for a couple of weeks it is like this," Klopp told a news conference.

"Actually, we knew it a bit longer because it was always clear when we came through into the next round it would be like this. 

"In April 2019, we got a letter from the Premier League where they asked us to respect the winter break, not to organise international friendlies and not to organise competitive games in respect of it. 

"I have said to the boys already, two weeks ago, that we will have a winter break, so it means we will not be there – it will be the kids who play that game because they cannot deal with us like nobody cares about it. 

"I know it is not very popular, but that’s the way I see it and, how I said, the Premier League asked us to respect the winter break and that’s what we do it. If then the FA [Football Association] do not respect it then we cannot change.

"But we [the first-team squad and staff] will not be there."

Klopp explained he plans to give his team a week's rest, during which they will undergo individual training regimes away from Melwood in order to stay fit.

He added: "That's what the winter break is about and then another competition tells us it's not that important, so we had to make these decisions before because the boys have family.

"And the international players like Jordan Henderson, Virgil van Dijk, Gini Wijnaldum, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, all these guys they have never [time] off so this is the week. 

"I said in the moment it was clear there would be a winter break months ago, before I knew the FA Cup could come in between, then we would respect it and we do."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp accepted Shrewsbury Town earned a lucrative FA Cup fourth-round replay at Anfield after coming from behind to earn a 2-2 draw against the world champions.

Curtis Jones scored for the second round in a row to put the Reds in front on Sunday and their lead was doubled immediately after half-time when Donald Love scored a comical own goal.

League One side Shrewsbury would not give up, however, with substitute Jason Cummings scoring twice, his first goal coming from the penalty spot, to send the home fans into raptures.

Klopp named a young side, as he did in the third round against Merseyside rivals Everton, though Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip started at the back with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino late arrivals off the bench as the Reds sought to avoid a replay.

And Klopp had no arguments with the result as Shrewsbury pulled off one of the biggest shocks of this season's FA Cup.

"We sent today so many invitations to the opponent it was always difficult to win the game," he told BBC Sport.

"I don’t think we have the time to say all the things which were not right today. 

"We scored a really wonderful goal which was, not the only football moment but it was a football moment.

"Apart from that, Adrian had absolutely too much to do, he was brilliant. The counter-attacks they had when we lost the ball. That’s how it is. 

"Big present directly after half-time, 2-0, it just didn’t look like on the pitch that we were 2-0 up, it looked like we were 2-1 down. 

"Congratulations to Shrewsbury, well deserved, it was the minimum they deserved today."

Shrewsbury manager Sam Ricketts felt his side could have pushed for a winner until Klopp sent on Firmino and Salah in the closing stages.

"For five, 10 minutes I was thinking, 'Let's go and get this'," Ricketts told BBC Sport. 

"As the game goes on and Liverpool bring on Firmino and Salah, it changed a little bit, alarm bells were ringing. 

"I said to the lads, 'You could have won it, but you all wanted to go to Anfield, didn’t you!'"

Jason Cummings scored a second-half double off the bench as Shrewsbury Town came from behind to earn a surprise 2-2 draw against Liverpool in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday.

Within 15 minutes of replacing Callum Lang on the hour mark, Cummings converted from the penalty spot and guided a cool finish past Adrian to earn League One side Shrewsbury a replay against the Premier League leaders at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp made 11 changes to his team and saw them move 2-0 up when Donald Love followed up Curtis Jones' opener with a comical own goal.

Klopp responded to Cummings' brace by calling for Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino from the bench, but Liverpool were unable to salvage a victory despite some huge late chances and now have another fixture to add to their busy schedule.

Diego Simeone insists he will only try to win back support "through actions, not words" after another disappointing day for Atletico Madrid.

Beaten by third-tier Cultural Leonesa in the Copa del Rey this week, Atleti were held to a 0-0 draw on Sunday at home to Leganes, a team that started the day bottom of LaLiga.

With no wins and just one goal from their past four games in all competitions, questions have been raised about whether Simeone's undoubtedly successful time in charge at the club could be coming to an end.

Defeat in the derby to Real Madrid next Saturday will only intensify calls for the head coach to leave, but Simeone is determined to show he can salvage Atleti's season.

"I can't say anything to the people [who do not have faith]," he told reporters. "All I can do is show them through actions, not words. Words mean nothing.

"I'm respectful with everybody. I was whistled because I wasn't doing well in my second spell at the club [as a player]. The fans are critical when the team doesn't win. And it's for me to find solutions to that.

"The first thing we need to do is to get back working. After that, I'll make my decisions based on what I feel is best for the team. We have a week to return to peace and calm, which is something you need in football.

"I have a great squad and a few lads are expected back from injury this week. On Saturday, we will be going out with the hope of winning the match."

Simeone refused to criticise the Wanda Metropolitano fans for their support on Sunday and stressed Atleti could have won the game had they shown a more clinical edge in the second half.

"The public get you going, they get involved and do their part in encouraging the team," he said. "We've just played two games away from home that didn't turn out well and the fans were good today.

"On other days, you can easily end up losing games like this. We could have won the game in the second half."

Diogo Dalot scored his first goal for Manchester United and there were rare strikes from Harry Maguire and Jesse Lingard as the Red Devils routed Tranmere Rovers 6-0 to reach the fifth round of the FA Cup.

A goal glut and a morale-boosting victory was just what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men needed after suffering back-to-back Premier League defeats, and the United boss watched a fluent performance from his charges despite a cut-up pitch at Prenton Park.

Maguire opened the floodgates with a long-range strike into the top corner and goals from Dalot and Lingard soon followed to put the visitors 3-0 up inside 16 minutes.

Phil Jones headed United's fourth and Anthony Martial's deflected shot made it 5-0 before Mason Greenwood scored a penalty in the second half to wrap up a win that affords under-pressure Solskjaer some breathing space.

After 10 cagey opening minutes, United found space to exploit around the Tranmere box and Maguire strolled forward with the ball before cutting onto his right foot and sending a crisp drive into the top right corner from 20 yards, a slight deflection helping it on its way.

Three minutes later Dalot played a one-two with Martial and skilfully cut inside his marker before hammering an angled drive low into the far corner of the net to double his side's advantage.

Maguire continued his attacking forays and created space on the edge of the box for Lingard to curl United's third into the bottom corner with aplomb, and five minutes before half-time Jones met an Andreas Pereira corner with a looping far-post header over goalkeeper Scott Davies.

Martial rendered the second half a formality when he scored from the left corner of the Tranmere box with a shot that took a wicked deflection and curled just inside the right post.

Substitute Tahith Chong was scythed down by Davies early in the second half and Greenwood rolled his penalty into the bottom left corner.

Dalot broke down the right and lashed a shot towards goal that Davies could only parry away at the near post before Morgan Ferrier missed a one-on-one with Romero at the other end.

Lingard might have scored what would have been just his third goal in 42 games when he tried a bending shot from the edge of the box, but it flashed narrowly wide as a seventh strike eluded United.

 

What does it mean? Trouble averted - in some style

Any sort of victory would have suited Solskjaer here, with anything less likely to have ramped up the pressure on the manager's position towards breaking point.

But in tricky conditions he coaxed a display full of energy and invention from his side in difficult conditions against a side who were not without goal threat despite their lowly status.

Maguire leads by example

United's slow starts have been a problem for them this season, but captain Maguire led the charge into attack from the early stages and showed his team-mates how to take the game to their hosts.

Danns goes missing

The experience of former Leicester City man Neil Danns helped Tranmere beat Watford three days earlier, but United found it all too easy to breeze past the 37-year-old in the middle of midfield.

What's next?

United will hope to be as sharp in front of goal on Wednesday as they aim to overturn a 3-1 deficit in the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final against Manchester City, while Tranmere entertain Sunderland in League One on the same evening.

Manchester United scored five times in the first half of a competitive match for the first time in 19 years against Tranmere Rovers on Sunday.

With two wins from seven games in all competitions and just six goals scored in 2020, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had been feeling the pressure ahead of the visit to Prenton Park.

United made light of a wretched playing surface, though, with a ruthless first 45 minutes putting them 5-0 ahead.

Harry Maguire scored his first goal for the club with a thumping strike from 25 yards, before Diogo Dalot and Jesse Lingard made it 3-0 after 16 minutes.

Phil Jones' towering header – his first United goal since March 2014 – made it 4-0 and Anthony Martial added a fifth shortly before the break.

The last time United scored five in the first half of a match was back in February 2001, when they destroyed Arsenal in a 6-1 Premier League victory at Old Trafford.

Solskjaer scored the fifth goal that day, which also featured a Dwight Yorke hat-trick and further strikes from Roy Keane and Teddy Sheringham.

Lautaro Martinez has been warned to control his anger by Inter assistant coach Cristian Stellini after his "excessive" reaction earned him a red card in the ill-tempered 1-1 draw with Cagliari.

The Argentina international scored the opener in Sunday's clash in San Siro but was later sent off for dissent as Inter were held to a third successive Serie A draw.

Martinez reacted angrily to a decision that went against him, earning a yellow card from referee Gianluca Manganiello and then a straight red swiftly followed for something he said. 

Inter's players had to hold the 22-year-old back and he is now facing a ban in a further blow to the Nerazzurri's hopes of winning the Scudetto.

Antonio Conte refused to speak to the media after the match, which saw Radja Nainggolan haunt his parent club with a late equaliser, but deputy Stellini stepped in and conceded Martinez went too far.

"It was excessive. He has to be careful," Stellini said at the post-match news conference. "It is important to us that he is available for games.

"He has to learn from what happened so it doesn't happen again."

Furious Inter boss Conte made his displeasure known to the referee at full-time, while substitute Tommaso Berni was also shown a red card, but skipper Samir Handanovic refused to blame the officials for yet more dropped points.

"The draw certainly wasn't down to the referee - we only complained because he didn't blow for fouls on our forwards, but always did for theirs," he told reporters.

"But we don't want to point fingers at anyone but ourselves. We lacked clarity and should have killed the game off earlier because we had plenty of chances to make it 2-0."

Martinez's suspension opens the door for Alexis Sanchez to return to the starting XI, the Chile international having been used mainly as a substitute since returning from injury this month, including an eight-minute cameo on Sunday.

Inter take on Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals on Wednesday and Stellini said: "We are expecting to lose Lautaro, so it could be an opportunity for Sanchez. There are lots of games to play."

Pep Guardiola quickly turned his focus towards Manchester United after Manchester City thrashed Fulham 4-0 in the FA Cup fourth round.

The game as a contest was effectively over inside the opening eight minutes, with visiting captain Tim Ream dismissed for a foul on Gabriel Jesus and Ilkay Gundogan converting the consequent penalty.

Bernardo Silva doubled the hosts' and holders' advantage before the interval at the Etihad Stadium, with Jesus' quickfire second-half double putting the gloss on things.

Next up for City is the visit of bitter rivals United in the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final, with Guardiola's side boasting a 3-1 aggregate lead.

Reflecting initially on the clash with Championship promotion hopefuls Fulham, Guardiola said: "For a few moments, I thought it would be a tough game.

"They're a team with a lot of courage but it was a bit different after the red card. They still tried to play but the game was over at 3-0.

"The determination was always there and we will fight to win each competition.

"Always we score goals and have the ability to score. The problem this season has been conceding some goals, but it's always good to score goals."

Casting his mind ahead to Wednesday's derby, he added: "Next is United and a chance to get to the final and that is our next target."

Fulham boss Scott Parker conceded his side's hopes of an upset were dashed by Ream's moment of madness, the skipper left "devastated" by his curtailed afternoon.

"Everything we planned for we had to change after six minutes because of the red card," he told BBC Sport.

"Tim Ream is obviously devastated. He has been immense for us this season. He made a mistake today. In the heat of the moment, you make decisions and sometimes you make the wrong ones."

Neymar is "determined to give everything" for Paris Saint-Germain, according to goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

Brazil international Neymar was heavily linked with a return to Barcelona in the close season, just two years after leaving them for a world-record fee of €222million.

But the 27-year-old has scored 64 goals in 74 appearances for PSG and this season formed a key part of the 'Fantastic Four' with Kylian Mbappe, Mauro Icardi and Angel Di Maria.

Neymar has reportedly cancelled a party for his upcoming birthday in order to focus solely on PSG, a mentality Navas has taken note of.

Asked about the club's formidable attacking line-up, Navas told Telefoot: "These are players with an incredible level and, for me, it is a privilege to be able to play with them.

"We feel calmer and we believe in them. We know that they will do good work.

"Neymar is a player at a whole different level, in a different world. We are very happy to have him in our team because he helps us a lot, he makes us stronger. And we know that he is determined to give everything."

After being eliminated from the Champions League at the quarter-final stage for four straight seasons from 2012-13, PSG have exited the competition at the last 16 in their three most recent campaigns.

Thomas Tuchel's side have a tricky tie with his former team Borussia Dortmund in the first knockout round coming up this term, but Navas believes they are ready to break new ground.

"We have a very good squad, all the conditions are there, we are ambitious and we want to win titles," said the Costa Rica international, who arrived from Real Madrid in September.

"This team is of a very high calibre, with players who achieve incredible things individually but the most important thing is that the squad is united 100 per cent.

"I am very happy, everyone here welcomed me really nicely, my family feels good and I have great team-mates. I am really enjoying myself. However, that is never sufficient.

"I always want to win, again and again. I did not come to PSG to have a good time, but to work with humility, desire and above all to win titles because that's what we love."

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