Rueda de prensa de Rafa Benítez

Benítez: "We're hurting and eager to bounce back"

NEWS | 24/11/2015 | Javier García (Lviv)

"Shakhtar are tough opponents with quality players, but we're here to try to ensure we progress as group winners", said the coach.
Rafa Benítez faced the media as he looked ahead to Real Madrid's match against Shakhtar Donetsk (Wednesday, 8:45pm CET), with the Whites looking to clinch top spot in Champions League Group A: "We have a fantastic team and a fantastic squad. That's why we went 14 matches unbeaten, were top of the league and had spectacular stats. It's true that we've lost the last two games and that the last one was very important, and for that reason we're hurting and really eager to bounce back. The best way to give the fans something to shout about is by winning as soon as possible and working hard to do that".

"The team hasn't collapsed. We're upset about losing to Barcelona. We have to look forwards. We're here to try to ensure we progress as group winners. We have to focus on that. They're tough opponents, with quality players and an experienced coach. We're out to get the win and make sure of top spot."

"We're united. I'm grateful to the Board of Directors and to the president for their support. We've spoken about the mistakes we made, and that starts with me. We're out to do as well as we had been. These two defeats mustn't affect the impression of growth offered by this team. In football you can never guarantee results, but you can guarantee dedication and effort in our fight to give our fans something to shout about". 

Starting line-up against Barcelona
"I understand your interest, but we analysed the Barcelona match the other day. We know the mistakes that were made and also the many things that we had been doing well beforehand. We're in November and our objectives are still within reach of the team, and we're going to fight to achieve them. The other day wasn't a question of a lack of character; I have no doubts about these players".

Conflict with Cristiano Ronaldo?
"No, absolutely not. Cristiano is a fantastic player and is crucial for us".

Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro
"They're three quality players, but it wouldn't be fair on the rest. I have a group of players with huge quality. What's key is that we all show quality, effort and cohesion. We've put in matches in which we've played good football and played an attacking game. Above and beyond individual names, what's important is that the team keep putting in good performances as we had been doing before these last two games".

The fans in Ukraine and his state of mind
"The love of the fans for Real Madrid has been clear to see. As for my state of mind after the game against Barcelona, I'm hurting a lot. I have confidence, energy and desire, and am out to bounce back and come away with some silverware from the trophies we're competing for".

I'm optimistic, because this team have a lot of quality.

"I'm hurting at the defeat. As a Madridista, I'm upset about losing any match, and all the more so against Barcelona at the Bernabéu, in a match where we could have gone top. I focus on my job, I can't control what is said. We're going to get back to what we were doing well to get back to winning games".

"My responsibility, what matters to me, is to do as well as possible so that the fans, the club, everyone is happy and things go well. It may be that there are people whose interests go against ours. A team that was doing so well was being criticised for anything. Reports come out that those of us on the inside know aren't the case. The team has so much quality that we'll be able to turn these two defeats into many wins".

The president's words
"I've been in football for many years. I'm confident that two defeats won't change all the good that was done before. The fact that the president comes out means that he supports the coaching staff and the team, is sticking up for us, and is there to help us out, and that's positive. We have to stick together, that's key".

Do the players believe in the coach?
"Of course. Otherwise, we wouldn't have gone 14 games unbeaten and qualified from the group stage with two matches to spare. We've had difficulties in these past two games. What we have to do is stick together to keep on doing as well as we had beforehand. The group has quality and professionalism and we all have to move in the same direction to achieve the results that we want". 

Dip in recent games
"I don't think that has been the case. Our recent results include the second half against PSG at home, in which we played well, and the first half against Sevilla, which was up there with the best we've produced this season. We've made mistakes and there have been adverse results. We have to get back to the things we were doing well, make the most of our quality and all work together from the first to the last whistle to make sure we don't make any mistakes."

Line-up against Shakhtar
"What I think isn't going to change what is written or said. In the time that I've been here, it has been a constant. A team that's top of the table, and you're on the end of criticism. It doesn't matter what I do, because everyone is going to interpret it in their own way. When you're playing two games a week I like to rotate, and I will rotate. I'll give other players the chance to show their quality, and that encourages competition for places".