‘Benitez DIDN’T pick Real Madrid’s team for their Clasico defeat to Barcelona’

Jamie Carragher believes his former manager has been forced to shoehorn his star players into a side that was humiliated in Saturday’s Clasico

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes Rafa Benitez was pressured into picking all of his star players for Real Madrid’s defeat to Barcelona.

Madrid slumped to a 4-0 defeat at home to the Spanish champions which intensified speculation over Benitez’s position at the club, although Florentino Perez insisted on Monday that the Spaniard’s position was safe.

Carragher, who was part of Liverpool’s Champions League-winning team under Benitez in 2005, feels his former manager is being forced to fit all of his star performers in his side.

“That’s not a team Rafa would pick. I can’t believe [he did].. either the people above him have got involved, or he’s bowed to media pressure, the players, I don’t know,” Carragher said on Sky Sports’ ‘Monday Night Football’.

“You look at that team, to not go in with a holding midfielder, Rafa would normally play two, and his best player this season has been Casemiro, and he left him out.


“The Benitez I knew at Liverpool – very strong-willed, no one would change him.

“He’s maybe getting pressure from the owner, who has bought these big stars, they need to play and he’s gone ‘okay, I’ll play them against Barcelona’. That’s what happens, you see the results.

“I think a lot of times this season he hasn’t played those players and they’ve been frustrated. [Karim] Benzema has been brought off a lot in games and been frustrated, you’ve seen [Cristiano] Ronaldo put his arm around Laurent Blanc as he came off against PSG, [James] Rodriguez has been complaining that he’s been fully fit, why’s he not playing.

“But now they are all fully fit, he’s played them. Now we won’t know if it was pressure from above, pressure from the media, the players, or Rafa saying ‘okay, you want all these players to play, they’re playing’ and that’s the end result. Because before these two games, they hadn’t lost a game in 14 or 15.”

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