You just can't boo Cristiano Ronaldo - Real Madrid's Mateo Kovacic

Real Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovacic has defended Cristiano Ronaldo, saying Portugal international does not deserve to be booed by the club's fans.

Ronaldo responded to whistles from a section of fans at the Bernabeu stadium by scoring his team's second after the restart in Sunday's 3-0 home victory over Real Sociedad.

The 31-year-old, who signed a lucrative contract extension earlier this season, had been booed after losing possession twice in the first half.

His goal was his first in La Liga since netting from the penalty spot in his team's 2-1 defeat at Sevilla on Jan. 15.

Kovacic told his club's official website: "As for Ronaldo, he's under a lot of pressure and that's to be expected.

"A player who gets a goal every game is under a lot of pressure, but you just can't boo him."

Kovacic was thrilled to have scored his first La Liga goal since joining Los Blancos in August 2015 from Inter Milan.

The Croatia international put Real ahead before setting up Ronaldo for his team's second. Alvaro Morata came off the bench to wrap up the win with the team's third.

"Whenever you score, it always makes you happy, but the most important thing is that we got the win and put three more points on the board," Kovacic said. "I got a goal and provided an assist and I've now go to keep going and prove that I can play for Real Madrid."

The win lifted Real four points clear of Barcelona and Sevilla at the top of the standings.

Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw at Real Betis on Sunday while Sevilla went down 3-1 to Espanyol on Saturday.

Real, looking to lift their first league title since the 2011-12 campaign, also have a game in hand.

Zinedine Zidane's side were eliminated from the Copa del Rey by Celta in the quarterfinal stages.

Their exit from the competitions means Real will now focus on their La Liga and Champions League campaigns.

Barcelona and Atletico face each other in the Copa semifinals, with the first leg on Wednesday and the return leg a week later.

Real winger Lucas Vazquez hopes his team can make the most of the rest.

He told Onda Cero radio: "We are in a great position and we have a good advantage. To not be playing in the Copa allows us to arrive fresher to our weekend games. We need to take advantage."