Girona boss Eusebio Sacristan defended out-of-sorts Real Madrid defender Marcelo as an "institution" after his side's historic La Liga win against Los Blancos at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The left-back has been roundly criticised in some quarters this season for a number of poor showings, with his struggle against relegation-threatened opposition on Sunday the latest in a line of similar performances.
The Brazilian, back in the starting line-up through squad rotation, has generally been second-choice this campaign after losing his place to Sergio Reguilon and previously hinted that he would seek a move away from the club.
Madrid have won only 38.5 per cent of La Liga games Marcelo has started this term, compared to 81.8 per cent when coach Santiago Solari has left him out.
Eusebio’s side appeared to target the defender during the second half, with Portu switching wings, a move that played into his side’s winner after the attacker headed home following Cristhian Stuani's penalty to level the score.
However, he insisted the decision was not a deliberately calculated move.
“I respect the rival players a lot and someone like Marcelo is an institution,” Eusebio told his post-match press conference.
“Portu plays on the right and generates a lot of problems, but this time he did on the left.
“Pere Pons was forced [to come off], he was dizzy and it was a big risk to continue in the field after the blow he suffered.
“We were subdued and with [Anthony] Lozano we gained more depth, we thought we could create more problems.”
The coach was reportedly close to the sack with Girona having lost six games in a row in La Liga to slip towards the relegation zone, but their upset victory sees them move to 15th in the table.
“They could have made us more goals in the first half, but in the second half we had more control,” he added.
“We made them less comfortable and the match was indicating that we were better. Their advantage was minimal and in the second half we were superior, we scored two goals and that's why we deserved to win.
“They dominated in the first half, but being 1-0 only made us believe and we tried to take the initiative away from them, we wanted to make them run with the ball, they are three very important points, and achieving the goal depends on us.
“It's a very happy day, we have won the prize for the work that is done every day. The prize did not arrive and it has arrived today. Very happy because they are three important points, we must continue working with that spirit.”