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Courtois: Wind to blame for sluggish Real Madrid showing

11:45 PM GMT+4 09/12/2018
Thibaut Courtois Real Madrid 2018-19
Real laboured past the Liga newcomers go register a win that dragged them into the top four for the first time since the sacking of Julen Lopetegui

Real Madrid’s difficulties in seeing off a stubborn Huesca on Sunday were down to their failure to deal with the wind, according to Thibaut Courtois.
 
Real scored early in the province of Aragon to see off the Liga newcomers, Gareth Bale giving the European champions a lead that they held onto without ever fully convincing.
 
And goalkeeper Courtois - who made a series of fine saves to preserve the three points for Santiago Solari's side - believes it was a matter of failing to get to grips with the weather conditions that caused Real’s travails as they laboured past the division's bottom side.
 
"We played well in the first half and the headwind in the second half complicated us, we did not play well because of that headwind," said the goalkeeper.
 
"If you want to stay in the league [title race] until the end, you have to win here, so we're happy for the victory.
 
“It's hard to say what we have to improve, it's true that we did not have the ball, when you do not have it, they hurt you.”

The win was Real’s fourth in five games and marked a continuation of the team’s revival under Solari.

The former Castilla boss replaced the ill-fated Julen Lopetegui – sacked after only six months – in October, and has moved the team into the top four in La Liga. They are now just five points behind leaders Barcelona.

Real had fallen as low as ninth during the final days of Lopetegui’s reign, going more than four games without a goal as they struggled to come to terms with the double loss of manager Zinedine Zidane and talisman Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer.

Barca consolidated their position at the league’s summit with a 4-0 win away at city rivals Espanyol on Satuday, Lionel Messi scoring twice to bounce back from his disappointment at failing to feature in the Ballon d’Or top three last week.