Isco thrilled with Zidane's new 4-4-1-1 formation: 'I feel more comfortable'

ESPN FC’s Paul Mariner credits Real Madrid’s derby win over Atletico as their best showing of this La Liga campaign.
A Cristiano Ronaldo hat trick carried Real Madrid over city rivals Atletico in the Madrid derby for a convincing win.

Isco has admitted that Real Madrid’s switch to a new formation helped him immensely in Los Blancos’ 3-0 win over Atletico Madrid.

Due to a number of injuries in the squad, Real coach Zinedine Zidane abandoned his favoured 4-3-3 formation on Saturday and opted for a 4-4-1-1 with Isco playing in a free role behind Cristiano Ronaldo as a lone striker.

The move paid off handsomely, with the Spaniard causing chaos between the lines and Ronaldo bagging himself a hat trick against Real’s crosstown rivals.

“I feel more comfortable there, but that is not an excuse [for other games],” Isco said after the match. “I always try and do the best I can.

“I stick with the work done by the team. 0-3 against a team who defend very well, and with a clean sheet. The team understood very well what the game needed.

“We got back to defend very well, and it was a very complete game.”

Isco, 24, is out of contract in June 2018 and — unlike teammates Ronaldo, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale, who have all recently extended their deals — has not held talks with the club over his future.

“I’m asked this every time I speak [to the media],” Isco said. “I still have two years left. I am not thinking about it at the moment.

“We will see what happens.”

The midfielder prefers to instead focus on Real’s La Liga campaign, with Saturday’s win opening up a four-point gap on reigning champions Barcelona.

“There is a long way to go in La Liga,” he added. “In other years we were ahead and did not know how to stay consistent.

“We are taking the three points, but we must just keep going like this.”

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Twitter @dermotmcorrigan.

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