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Sporting - Real Madrid

Benítez: "The team reacted in the second half and just weren't clinical enough"

NEWS | 23/08/2015 | Javier García (Gijón)

"I'm clear in my mind that this is the beginning and I remain optimistic", said the coach.
Rafa Benítez spoke to the media in the El Molinón press room and offered his thoughts on Real Madrid's opening game of the 2015/16 La Liga campaign: "The first half was difficult, we lost possession on quite a few occasions and we gave them opportunities to create dangerous situations. In the second half we played with much more intensity, had more control and were better at getting ourselves into good positions in attack, and we could have won the match".

"The team reacted in the second half, they showed character, personality and had control. In the second half the team went after the match and looked to win it, but we just weren't clinical enough".

Analysis of the team
"We finished up playing a 4-3-3 formation to try to keep the players who could score high up the pitch, have more control in the middle and play with more width. I think that we managed all that, and we lacked precision in the final ball and weren't clinical enough in front of goal".

In the second half we played with much more intensity, had more control and were better at getting ourselves into good positions in attack.

"I'm clear in my mind that this is the beginning. I take the second-half performance away with me. In the first half there were things that we lacked, and in the second we offered quite a bit more than is needed to win a game. It's a question of steadily improving our precision, our physical fitness and the way we function as a unit, and I remain optimistic".

Forwards' positions
"To get the best out of the players that we have, we have to give them a certain degree of freedom. We saw quite a few moments of attacking play from the players up front, but with less space in the second half it's a question of precision. When there were spaces, we saw quite a few situations where all the players up front were involved".

Giving the ball away in the first half
"You have to give the other team credit. They were organised and pressed well. We risked passes that we shouldn't have at the beginning and they grew in confidence. Their defensive set-up and ability to bring the ball out enabled them to create danger".

Sporting Gijón
"They're a team who have been working together for a while and have a very clear idea of what they need to do. They played with a lot of intensity and made it difficult for us to build the play".