Real Madrid went down to 10 men with around 20 minutes of normal time remaining, but managed to earn a draw against Gary Neville’s Valencia on Sunday

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Despite twice taking the lead in the game, Real Madrid were pegged back on each occasion by Valencia at the Mestalla on Sunday, meaning Rafael Ben tez’s men now lie four points behind city rivals Atl tico Madrid, and two behind FC Barcelona having played a game more.

However, the former Liverpool FC manager insisted that his side deserved praise for the effort they put in — particularly in the second half after they were reduced to 10 men. Ben tez was also forced to respond to questions about his future, and how the draw against Valencia affected his position at the helm of Real Madrid.

Ben tez insists Real Madrid effort is worthy of praise

Speaking to the media after the game, the Real Madrid manager expressed his satisfaction with the effort his players put in to earn the draw at the Mestalla despite being reduced to 10 men with the scores level.

“We are mistaken if we just look at the result,” Ben tez was quoted as saying by ESPN FC. “The effort the team put in deserves praise, not anything else. They stood up to be counted and fought until the end.

“In the first half we had control for 35 minutes. The second half was difficult. But we did good work. Left with 10 men we had to make an effort and the players did that. We had chances to win at the end, and also to lose the game. It was a pity to concede so soon after scoring the second.”

Speculation about job security does not affect Ben tez

Although there have undoubtedly been some strong performances under the former Valencia manager, Real Madrid have failed to beat any of the big sides in Spain thus far, with their only win against a ‘big’ team coming in the UEFA Champions League at home against Paris Saint-Germain, in a match that saw the hosts get outplayed by the Ligue 1 outfit.

As such, there has been speculation about a possible sacking before the end of the season — something which Ben tez understandably does not pay much heed to. “I cannot avoid other people speculating,” Benitez added.

“What I can do is get the team to work as they have today. They made a great effort, and unfortunately could not take the three points.”