Why Florentino Perez was possibly more relieved about the Clasico than Zidane needed to be

The Guardian's Sid Lowe chats to Off The Ball about Real's 2-1 win over Barcelona

zidane, real madrid, barcelona, clasico, off the ball, graham hunter

Picture by: Paul White / AP/Press Association Images

Real Madrid are unlikely to claw back the gap in La Liga with so few games to go, but they achieved a real mood change on Saturday night when they beat leaders Barcelona 2-1 at the Nou Camp.

Defeat could well have been awkward for the club and president Florentino Perez, but after the 4-0 home loss in the last Clasico, the sense of crisis at Real Madrid has dissipated somewhat.

Of course, last time Rafa Benitez was still manager and - reportedly - due to the influence of Perez, played a far less cautious team at the Bernabeu.

His successor Zinedine Zidane instead was able to field defensive midfielder Casemiro and the Brazilian was able to keep Barcelona's talisman Lionel Messi relatively quiet.

It makes Zidane's position more secure but it's also important for the president as The Guardian's Spanish football correspondent Sid Lowe told Off The Ball tonight.

"Rafa Benitez was a very easy manager to sack. Zidane is a very different kind of proposition. He's a difficult manager to sack. If you sack Zidane, you're left with very little. You're sacking someone who carries a political and populist weight that Rafa Benitez didn't have and I think that means by definition, Florentino Perez's position on this is different and for all that he has doubts about Zidane - he still does have doubts about Zidane - it's not such an easy move and therefore you have to back him to some extent, at least in the short term." 

Lowe also explained how Zidane has reduced the level of tension around Real Madrid.