Mateo Kovacic praised Real Madrid’s supporters but leapt to the defence of team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, who was subjected to boos by the Santiago Bernabeu crowd.
Despite pre-match calls for unity in the Spanish capital, Ronaldo and Co. were targeted by the Madrid boo-boys as the LaLiga leaders ran out 3-0 winners over Real Sociedad on Sunday.
Four-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo shrugged off the hostile home crowd to score a goal and set up Kovacic as Madrid moved four points clear of reigning champions Barcelona and Sevilla.
“The fans were really good and were our twelfth man. We have to thank them for that,” Kovacic said.
“As for Ronaldo, he’s under a lot of pressure and that’s to be expected.
“A player who gets a goal every game is under a lot of pressure, but you just can’t boo him.”
Kovacic was lively throughout at the Bernabeu, scoring his first Liga goal of the season as he opened the scoring seven minutes prior to half-time.
After being set up by Ronaldo, the Croatian midfielder then turned provider for the Portugal captain six minutes into the second half, before Alvaro Morata sealed the victory.
“It was a very important game and we managed to get the three points. The team did very well and we must continue on in this vein,” said Kovacic.
“Whenever you score it always makes you happy, but the most important thing is that we got the win and put three more points on the board. I got a goal and provided an assist and I’ve now go to keep going and prove that I can play for Real Madrid.”