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Athletic Club - Real Madrid

Benítez: "We showed quality in the first half and character in the second"

NEWS | 23/09/2015 | Alberto Navarro (Bilbao)

"The win gives us confidence and strengthens the winning mentality this team need to have", he added.
Rafa Benítez expressed his satisfaction with the work put in by his players to come away from San Mamés with an important victory: "I'm happy, because we won and the team showed two clear sides to their game. A first half with possession, goal chances and control of the ball. And a second half with hard work, character and the ability to battle through the tough moments. We showed quality in the first half and character in the second".

"To begin with we showed a lot of control in possession. Later we made adjustments with Isco moving more into central midfield, and finished up with Casemiro in that area. All these things, which seem like odd little things, mean that this team is starting to get a firm handle on tactical concepts. When the team wins, I feel that almost everything that we've done has been positive".

Important win
"It was a game in which we showed things that we hadn't shown up to now. We hadn't needed to show this character, and we also brought the ball out crisply. It strengthens the winning mentality that this team need to have. Real Madrid have always been a team about determination and character. We fought hard and stood up to be counted".

Karim Benzema
"He's a fantastic player. He's a a number nine with a difference; he's not a penalty-box striker. He offers a lot of movement, he has quality and he has a really good understanding with Cristiano Ronaldo. The movement and the quality that he brings cause problems for the opposition defence and create spaces for his team-mates".


"I've set him the target of scoring 25 goals, and we've talked about assists too. He's going well. What's important is that he scores and that the team win. Everyone worked hard and contributed. A team that work hard for each other end up winning".

What the victory brings
"Confidence in ourselves. We've passed the test that everyone was talking about with a pretty high mark. We lacked precision in the final pass or the final shot on goal. Finishing up at San Mamés with 20 shots shows that we stuck to our task throughout the game and played well".

Mateo Kovacic
"He did well. I know what he's capable of because I watched him in Italy, and he's a player with quality and dynamism. We just needed to interpret our possession of the ball better. We had control for a number of periods in the game".

Escaping Athletic's pressing
"I was watching last season's game with my backroom team, and as they put pressure on you high up the pitch we opted for a varied midfield. That has its drawbacks, and that's why we had to make adjustments in the second half. With everything that we showed, if we had had a little more cutting edge the game would have been more comfortable".

Keylor Navas
"He did well. The move that brought their goal was a mistake by us, and what's important is that we won".

Aerial balls
"We had analysed that, but sometimes a moment of carelessness allows your opponent to get an advantage. We had to defend ourselves with possession of the ball, and that's what we did in the first half".

Barcelona defeat
"I didn't have any thoughts about it at all; I didn't find out about it until our game ended".