Real Madrid put an emphatic stop to the whispers of criticism towards coach Zinedine Zidane by crushing Real Betis 6-1 at the Estadio Benito Villamarin on Saturday night.
The Frenchman may have been a club great as a player and may also have led the club to an 11th Champions League title last season, but four successive draws in all competitions and some lacklustre displays had raised a certain level of unease among observers at the Bernabeu.
But they played just as Zidane would have wanted in a comprehensive win in Seville, featuring a compact set-up and an ability to break in numbers at exhilarating speed.
Raphael Varane's header gave them the perfect start and Karim Benzema made it 2-0 just after the half-hour mark after they were gifted possession by Betis veteran Joaquin.
Marcelo added a scrappy third from an offside position and they went into half-time 4-0 up as Isco rounded off a brilliant end-to-end move with a close-range finish.
The former Malaga man, who had been out of favour in the first weeks of the season under Zidane, curled in a fifth before a goal for Cristiano Ronaldo, still feeling his way back after his glittering summer with Portugal, capped the win off nicely. Alvaro Cejudo's goal 10 minutes into the second half was mere consolation for Gus Poyet's Betis side.
The capital club could not have wished for a better start as Toni Kroos, celebrating a new six-year contract, whipped in a fourth-minute free-kick and Varane rose highest to glance it past Betis goalkeeper Antonio Adan.
It should have been 2-0 seconds later as a lightning counter-attack concluded with Gareth Bale back-heeling the ball to Isco on the overlap down the right and his cross to the far post was volleyed over from close range by Ronaldo.
Adan made a smart save with the aid of his left-hand post in the 14th minute to keep out Bale's header from a Marcelo cross.
Betis were under the cosh but Ruben Castro briefly lifted the pressure with a curling shot from outside the area which did not quite bend in enough to trouble Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas.
But the second Madrid goal came in the 32nd minute as Joaquin gifted possession to Kroos in the visitors' attacking third. The German advanced forward in a three-on-one break and decided Benzema to his left was his best option and the French striker rolled home a simple shot past Adan.
The contest was essentially over by the 39th minute when Benzema's shot deflected to Marcelo, who controlled the ball with his shoulder and then scuffed the ball in, but it should not have been given because the Brazilian was offside when Benzema initially let fly.
There was still time for a fourth before half-time as Zidane's men launched a length-of-the-field break which ended with Pepe squaring across the six-yard box for Isco to tap home.
It seemed the only way was up for Betis in the second half. Joaquin's header had to be blocked by Pepe with Navas out of position and the veteran former Spain winger then played a key part in Betis getting off the mark.
His clever lay-off round the corner released half-time substitute Cejudo who calmly slotted a left-foot shot past the advancing Navas.
But the visitors still looked very comfortable and Isco scored his second and Madrid's fifth in the 62nd minute as he curled home a right-foot shot after Ronaldo's cross could not be turned in by Benzema.
Arguably all that was missing to round off proceedings for Real Madrid was a Ronaldo goal and his second in the league arrived with 12 minutes left.
Alvaro Morata's clever angled pass allowed the Portuguese to burst between a posse of Betis players who he kept at bay before burying a low shot beyond Adan.