Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez was elated by his team’s dismantling of Real Betis at the Santiago Bernabeu last night. Benitez reserved special praise for James and Gareth Bale, who scored two goals each and Keylor Navas, who saved a penalty.
The Los Blancos ran riot at the Santiago Bernabeu, hitting 5 past Real Betis as Rafa Benitez claimed his first victory in a competitive fixture. The Spanish giants were held to a goalless draw away from home by Sporting de Gijon in their first game of this season, however, they opened their La Liga account in style.
Bale opened the scoring within the first five minutes, heading in a James cross from the right wing. James doubled the lead with an absolute peach of a free kick from an acute angle, which rifled in after crashing against the post. Benzema marked his return to the starting line up with a goal as he scored from a Gareth Bale cross, before James scored a brilliant overhead kick after controlling a Toni Kroos shot. Bale scored again in the 89th minute to complete the rout.
Positives from the game- intensity, aggression, attacking ambition, cutting edge
Benitez praised his players’ hard work and attitude following the victory. Speaking in his post match press conference, as quoted by the club’s official website, Benitez said:
“I’m delighted with the team’s performance. There’s always room for improvement, but I said the team would score and they proved me right”.
“I liked the performances from Bale, James, Cristiano, who had the highest number of shots, Keylor… We can take a lot of positives from this and there are a few things we can correct. This result is testament to the players’ hard work and good attitudea .
He, however, highlighted the lapse of concentration of his players which lead to a good chance for the away side along with a penalty.
a The biggest positives from the game could be summed up from the first five minutes: intensity, aggression, attacking ambition, cutting edge…. The negatives were the two lapses of concentration that resulted in a chance for them and a penalty. But the positives far outweigh the negativesa .
The former Liverpool FC manager also expressed his satisfaction over the performance of his goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who saved a penalty and insisted that he would prefer that his keeper has nothing to do.
a When they play that well I don’t need to say much. It makes me very happy when they do well. I like to see Keylor doing so well, although I’d prefer he had nothing to do because that would be a good sign. I prefer that it be the front players who are most involveda .
Benitez has no doubts over the abilities of James and Cristiano Ronaldo
Prior to the match, Benitez had suggested that James might not start the game as the Colombian was still not at his best, having joined the squad late due to his participation in the Copa America. However, James did start and was arguably the best Real Madrid player on the pitch. Benitez quashed any doubts over the ability and quality of the 24-year-old.
a He didn’t join up with us a bit later, but much later on because he was playing in the Copa Am rica. That can’t be disputed. He’s finding his rhythm and his ability is not up for debate. Debates over which player will play don’t worry mea .
Cristiano Ronaldo failed to score for the second successive game, despite having the most shots in both the games. However, Benitez remained calm when asked about Cristiano and reiterated that the goals will come for the Portuguese superstar.
a He had the most shots tonight, as he had in Gijon. No one doubts Cristiano’s ability and as long as the team can create chances, he’ll score a lot of goalsa .