Solari thrilled with Madrid Derby win

Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari was thrilled by his team's 3-1 derby victory over Atletico on Saturday as the European champions forced their way back into the La Liga title race.

Casemiro, Sergio Ramos and Gareth Bale's goals allowed Real to condemn Atletico to their first home defeat of the season and move within five points of leaders Barcelona, who faced Athletic Bilbao this morning.

Solari took over with Real floundering in ninth place last October, but victory over Atletico helped his team leapfrog their city rivals into second.

"It was a team performance, strong in every aspect, probably our best game since December," Solari said.

"The key was the players... The physicality, the delivery, the heart and the talent are all theirs, they deserve the credit."

Welsh winger Bale sealed the points for Real with a low drive, which was his 100th goal for the club after joining from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013.

"He's in phenomenal shape and came back into the dressing room delighted because of his goal," said Solari.

"The game was still alive and he killed it with his strike. Every game, he improves."

Atletico coach Diego Simeone praised Real for their performance and admitted they deserved the three points as his team dropped to third.

"Our opponents were better than us and, above all, more effective," said Simeone.

Real will now turn their attention to their Champions League last-16, first-leg tie at Ajax Amsterdam on Thursday morning (Singapore time). - REUTERS