The Real Madrid coach claimed that his players deserved credit for battling their way to a 1-0 win over Granada – not jeers
Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez has shrugged off the whistles from sections of the Santiago Bernabeu crowd during Saturday’s 1-0 win over Granada, insisting that he was satisfied with his side’s performance.
The hosts needed a Karim Benzema goal 10 minutes into the second half to claim maximum points, having been frustrated for large spells by the visitors, who not only felt that the Frenchman had been offside but also had a goal incorrectly ruled out for offside during the first half.
Having put 10 goals past Espanyol and Shakhtar Donetsk in their two previous fixtures in all competitions, Madrid had been expected to run riot against a Granada side that they had routed 9-1 at home last season.
Consequently, some Madrid fans were less than impressed by the fortuitous nature of their victory and made their feelings known at full-time.
However, Benitez felt that his troops deserved praise for the way in which they stuck to their task against well-organised opponents.
“When the game ends I make my way to the dressing room and I’m very happy with the team’s attitude,” said the Spaniard.
“We’ve taken a good result from a difficult match and it allows us to take stock from the standpoint of having won the game. We know that we have to play well and win, but when a match doesn’t go exactly as you’d like, winning and seeing the way the team put a shift in is positive.
“If we look at the results, the team has shown focus, intensity and quality. If we hadn’t, we wouldn’t have these results. Our improvement comes from doing everything right from the very first minute against well-organised opponents.
“We had some clear chances to put ourselves in the driving seat. We weren’t able to make more, though I think we had 20 attempts. Granada put in a good match defensively.
“A lot of the time it was also down to mistakes by us, because of moments of carelessness that saw us lose it on a simple ball. We needed to move the ball more quickly and with greater precision.”
With Gareth Bale having been ruled out of the game through injury, Jese Rodriguez had been expected to be drafted into the Madrid attack.
However, the 22-year-old forward was left on the bench, with Lucas Vazquez getting the nod instead, and Benitez claimed that he had simply picked the player more deserving of a starting berth.
“If we want to be competitive and make the most of the squad’s potential, we have to work as hard as possible so as to be in the best of shape.
“And, when the chance comes, [players must] play better than a team-mate. And if not, another player will play and you have to keep on working hard.”