Zinedine Zidane believes his Real Madrid midfield stars have rediscovered their best form after an influential display in their 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid.
Casemiro, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos started together in LaLiga for just the third time this season on Saturday and Zidane's team selection proved effective.
Madrid led through Casemiro's header and then extended their advantage courtesy of a Jan Oblak own goal in the second half.
Zidane was particularly taken by the displays of Modric and Kroos, with the World Cup winner completing 87 of 90 passes, the most in a league Madrid derby since at least 2005-06.
"We used [Modric and Kroos] to find the way out, it's true," said Zidane, who is unbeaten in seven games against Atleti. "We had to do it.
"And then playing fast from one side to the other and with diagonals, we found gaps. They're f***ing great, they're exceptional.
"Karim [Benzema], too, and Lucas [Vazquez], he is phenomenal, and [Dani] Carvajal, and our captain [Sergio Ramos], [Raphael] Varane. They are all very good."
7 - Zinedine Zidane is unbeaten in his 7 seven LaLiga games against Atlético de Madrid (W3 D4), the best run of any @realmadriden manager in a derby against them since Luis Molowny, 7 games between March 1974 and February 1986 (W5 D2). Master.#RealMadridAtleti #ElDerbi pic.twitter.com/FPrHTTkplA— OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 12, 2020
The coach was further asked about the trio in the centre of the pitch, who now have competition in the form of Federico Valverde and Martin Odegaard.
"They are at the level of the three Champions Leagues we won in a row," he said. "They are playing at a very high level."
Victory against Atleti brought to an end an extremely successful week, having also won 1-0 at Sevilla and 2-0 against Borussia Monchengladbach to reach the last 16 of the Champions League.
"We confirmed what we did in the two previous games," said the coach, whose side restricted Atleti to one shot on target across the 90 minutes and no efforts at all before half-time.
"We competed very well throughout the game.
"But we don't have anything to celebrate because we haven't won anything. It's a good week.
"I'm happy for the players because they always believe in what they do. And when they get things done I'm happy. Let's enjoy and think about Tuesday [against Athletic Bilbao]."