Santiago Solari said Gareth Bale helped define Saturday's derby after scoring his 100th Real Madrid goal against Atletico Madrid.
It was a memorable outing for Bale at Atletico's Wanda Metropolitano, where the Welsh forward celebrated his century of goals in the 3-1 La Liga derby victory.
Casemiro opened the scoring for Madrid with the quickest goal Atletico have conceeded in La Liga at their home ground, with Sergio Ramos hitting from the penalty spot to put the club 2-1 up after Antoine Griezmann has leveled matters.
Bale came off the bench and netted Madrid's third – his 100th goal in all competitions since arriving from Tottenham in 2013 for a world-record fee – against 10-man Atletico.
And Madrid head coach Solari praised Bale following reports the Wales international walked back to the dressing room on his own following the triumph.
"He walked into the locker room very well and he was very happy with his goal," Solari said during his post-game news conference.
"He helped define this match because it was very much alive at this point. But thanks to his goal it ended the match and he's very good."
Bale has scored six La Liga goals in 18 matches – 15 of those in the starting XI – this season, while the 29-year-old has netted 12 in all competitions.
Solari has promised that his side will now fight for the league title, having clawed back to within just five points of leaders Barcelona, though the club's next task will be taking care of a round of 16 first leg against Ajax.
League clashes against Girona and Levante and the Copa del Rey semi-final second leg against Barcelona all await the club before the end of the month.
They will then get the chance to dent Barcelona’s lead in the league as they open their March schedule with a home clash against their eternal rivals.