Zidane hails 'outstanding' Isco as Madrid stay level with Barca

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The ex-Malaga man once again starred for a much-changed Madrid side on Wednesday, leaving his coach ecstatic

Zinedine Zidane lauded Isco's "outstanding" performance after Real Madrid crushed Deportivo La Coruna to stay level with rivals Barcelona in the race for La Liga glory.

Madrid responded from their dramatic last-gasp Clasico defeat to Barca by routing Deportivo 6-2 on Wednesday.

James Rodriguez scored a goal in each half but Isco was the main tormenter as he sealed his fine display with a 77th-minute strike.

James can still save Madrid career

And Zidane had nothing but praise for the 25-year-old Spain international post-match after he starred in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale away from home.

"It's not often that you get a standing ovation from the opposition's fans, but his performance was outstanding," Zidane said.

"He does things that not everyone is capable of and the crowd congratulated him on that. I'm delighted for him after the work he's put in. He always delivers when called upon."

"These players will continue to give me tough decisions to make right up until the end of the season, but we've got another game on Saturday and we'll see how we go about preparing for it," he continued: We're all raring to go and that's the most important thing."

Titleholders Barca humiliated Osasuna 7-1 earlier in the day to leave the two giants locked on 78 points atop the table, though Madrid have a game in hand.

"We created a lot of chances in the first half and we failed to put all of them away. Many of the players who've featured here aren't our regular starters and what they've gone out and done, in terms of the tempo and discipline, was amazing," Zidane said.

"I come away from here happy with the performance and everyone's goals. The players that don't get as many minutes are also focused and fitness-wise you couldn't spot any difference, quite the opposite. They're in fine shape and they've proved that. They're keen to play, I've got a great group here and they're all ready to face up to the challenges that lie ahead and we've got some real cup finals ahead of us from now on in."