The Liga champions came under pressure in the second half against the underdogs, with their manager acknowledging they were not at their best.
Zinedine Zidane felt Real Madrid struggled to kill the game off in their 2-0 victory against Levante because they are still “lacking something” in the early stages of the season.
Madrid took the lead at the Estadio de la Ceramica on Sunday through Vinicius Junior in the 16th minute, before Levante’s Nikola Vukcevic hit the crossbar before half-time.
Karim Benzema struck the post and Vinicius missed a pair of chances to add to his tally within 10 minutes of the restart.
Levante did not wilt but they were unable to find a way past Thibaut Courtois, who did superbly to deny Enis Bardhi on three occasions.
Madrid finally put the game to bed in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Rodrygo released Benzema on a fast break and the Frenchman scored his first goal of the season.
6 – Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema has been involved in six goals in his last six league games against Levante (four goals and two assists), including two goals and an assist in three away games in this time. Important. pic.twitter.com/bmJV7fplqg
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) October 4, 2020
Zidane saw some positives as his team moved top of La Liga but knows the reigning champions remain some way short of their best.
“It was a game we suffered in. We had chances to kill the game off in the second half, and it could have been a very different match,” Zidane told Movistar . “We suffered a lot because they had chances too. I’m happy about the first half but the game is 90 minutes.
“It’s the beginning of the season and we know we’re lacking something in attack and defence. We are not playing perfectly. I’m happy with the effort, they’ve given their all.
“I’ve seen it against this same opponent, they have good chances that you have to contain.
“Maybe physically we’re not quite there. The opponent put a little more energy in and had two or three chances.
“I’m very happy going into the international break. The team is working well together, wanting to show what they can do.”
Before the game, Zidane had played down suggestions that Madrid could be boosted with a move for Lyon midfielder and long-time Arsenal target Houssem Aouar.
“I don’t know what information you have about him [Aouar],” Zidane told reporters. “He’s a great player, I have no doubt about that.
“Maybe one day he could play at Real Madrid, but right now we have this squad and we’re going to go forward with the players we have.”