"We didn't play a brilliant match," Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane admitted afterwards. "But we have to be patient and calm. The most important thing was the points. Little by little, we will improve."
Meanwhile, Valladolid coach Sergio Gonzalez said: "Our team did a lot of things well and the result doesn't reflect that. We deserved to win a point."
Courtois saves Real once again
For the third game in a row in 2020-21, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois saved Real Madrid with some superb saves – just as he had in the 0-0 draw at Real Sociedad on the opening weekend and again in the 3-2 win at Real Betis on Saturday.
The Belgian got down low to keep out a shot from striker Shon Weissman in the second-half and later did well to parry an effort from Raul Carnero. In the first half, he also made a vital intervention with the scores at 0-0.
"Madrid were saved today because they had a great goalkeeper," the club's former forward Pedja Mijatovic told Cadena SER.
And Zidane agreed. "We said it last week. It's true that he saved us and tonight as well. That's what he is there for." Right now, though, Madrid are perhaps relying on him a little too much.
Vinicius needs to be starting games
Vinicius Junior remains raw and also erratic. The Brazilian's shooting is poor for a player at this level and his decision making needs to improve, but his dribbling scares rival teams and he has a knack of making things happen.
The 20-year-old's performance off the bench against Valladolid was a mixed bag as it usually is, featuring moments of real quality and others of frustration.
Even his goal was scrappy and somewhat fortuitous as the ball fell to him in an offside position, although he was on as it arrived via the boot of a Valladolid defender. Nevertheless, he made the difference.
"I'm happy with his goal and what he did," Zidane said afterwards. "That's what the changes are for." Given the team's problems in front of goal, though, he really needs to be a starter.
Jovic improved and goals should come
Luka Jovic has now started back-to-back games for Real Madrid and his performance against Real Valladolid was a significant improvement upon his showing in the win at Real Betis on Saturday.
The Serbian striker took up intelligent positions and had three good chances to score, blasting over the bar from a counter-attack in the first half, then poking into the side netting and later seeing a header well saved by Roberto Jimenez.
With Karim Benzema yet to net in 2020-21, Los Blancos need goals from elsewhere and although Jovic did not convert in this match, he is clearly benefiting from some meaningful playing time and should start scoring soon.
Whether he will be at the club to do so is another matter, though, as Zidane declined to rule out a loan move. "He's here at the moment," the Frenchman said. "He's a player in our squad."
Waiting for Hazard
One big frustration for Zidane will be the fitness of Eden Hazard, who has been ruled out for another three to four weeks with a fresh injury revealed by the club on Wednesday.
The Belgian attacker had been supposed to make his comeback in this match and was named in the squad, but had to watch on from the sidelines and is even thought to be a doubt for the Clasico against Barcelona on October 25.
"We have to be calm," Zidane said. "It's a question of time." And he will hope last summer's star signing is back sooner rather than later to help Madrid create more chances.
Asked by Movistar+ about his international teammate, Courtois said: "He's a little sad because he trained really well during the week. It's a little setback, but it's not his ankle, and I'm sure he'll be with us after the [international] break."
Lack of proper pre-season is showing
Real Madrid kicked off in LaLiga a week before their two biggest rivals, Barcelona and Atletico, because Los Blancos had not been involved in the last eight of the Champions League.
Zinedine Zidane's side returned to competitive action after only one friendly match behind closed doors against Getafe, which they won 6-0 against a side made up of a number of youth players.
The preparation, or lack of it, was clearly not ideal for a team that often takes time to get going and Zidane said on Wednesday: "We didn't have pre-season to try out different formations."
Vinicius Junior also spoke about the team's lack of rhythm. "We didn't have any pre-season games and only a few training sessions," he told Movistar+. "These games are difficult, but it's important to keep winning."