Coach Wanderley Luxemburgo heaped praise on hapless defender Jonathan Woodgate despite his nightmare debut for Real Madrid.
The former Newcastle and Leeds defender, who had waited 14 months for his first Real appearance because of injury, headed a first-half own goal past Iker Casillas before being dismissed for a second yellow card during the 3-1 win over Athletic Bilbao.
Injury to Ivan Helguera and Sergio Ramos' suspension allowed the 25-year-old to take his place at the heart of Madrid's back four but his first appearance lasted only 66 minutes at the Santiago Bernabeu.
However, Luxemburgo believes the centre-back was unfortunate to be red carded and insists he has already won over the Madrid faithful.
'He played well after being out of action for 18 months and he was really unlucky with the own goal and the red card. He will never forget that,' he said.
'He has conquered the Bernabeu because he is a quality player.
'He has been out of action for too long, but the people have now seen that we have got another central defender.'
Madrid fell behind to Woodgate's 25th-minute own goal but battled back for a vital victory with two goals from captain Raul and Robinho's first goal for the club.
Luxemburgo, who has come under intense pressure following a less than impressive start to the season, hailed his side's resolve and warned that their campaign is only just beginning.
'I told the players during the break that bad things had happened and that we had 45 minutes to turn them around,' he said.
'We played as we always did, but they were excellent in the second half and now the league is starting for us.'