Mourinho delighted by performance of Real Madrid fringe players during victory over Osasuna

Esteban Granero and Raul Albiol were surprise starters against the Basques on Saturday, but the duo's Portuguese coach was encouraged by their contribution on the night
Jose Mourinho has commended the professionalism of Real Madrid's fringe players after they helped his side cruise to a 5-1 win over Osasuna in La Liga on Saturday.

The coach named Raul Albiol and Esteban Granero in his starting lineup for the trip to Pamplona, and his faith in the pair was rewarded as the defender helped ensure the Blancos' goal was relatively breached, while the midfielder assisted Gonzalo Higuain's first goal.

"I like the manner in which each player responds to my call," Mourinho said post-match. "Today was not an easy match. Granero and Albiol have not played much, but responded very well.

"They pay testament to the strength of the group and we are delighted that the match went well for us and also for those two.

"It was much in the same vain as to how I was delighted by the performance of Nuri Sahin in Cyprus. I say thank you to these players."

Real Madrid have temporarily moved nine points clear of Barcelona following their victory, but await Barcelona's result against Athletic Bilbao on Saturday night.