Real Madrid picked up a win against Getafe at the weekend, and they closed down the gap between them and the league leaders Barcelona. Rafa Benitez hailed his side’s performance after the impressive victory after the tough week.
Real Madrid was disqualified from the Copa del Rey over fielding an ineligible player Denis Cheryshev. Benitez revealed that he was expecting that it would be difficult for his team.
“We knew how things were and how the atmosphere could be, so we had to be very focused,” Benitez said. “We knew it would not be easy. The team showed, from the start, that they knew what they had to do.
“The football side was key for us — to get the three points. We have to be united and do our work with everybody together. After a difficult week we played well and won the game.”
The Real Madrid boss also praised French striker Karim Benzema, who is still having a tough time dealing with legal proceedings in Valbuena blackmail case.
“That Benzema scored two goals, and contributed so much to the team, reinforces what I said that he’s a very important player for us, and makes those around him play better,” Benitez said. “This week we were talking, and he really wanted to play this game, do well, and score goals.
“He did that, was very focused, and doing well on the pitch will help him to deal with other things.”
“The three attackers of the team all scored, and helped the team a lot in attack and defence,” he said. “The three should be happy. We played 45 very good minutes and played a good game overall.
“At 4-0 up the team managed the game, we dropped intensity a bit as the work was done. The first half for me showed the power this team has and what it can do in a game.”
“It is much more simple than it seems,” the coach added. “I spoke with our doctor yesterday, who told me [Marcelo] had not got medical all-clear yet. He trained again today, which shows he is better, improving, but for this game we wanted to protect the player, so he was not injured again.”
Barcelona were held by Valencia at the Mestalla Stadium. The hosts have a new boss in Gary Neville, and he will take charge of the club from the Champions League fixture against Lyon on Wednesday. Luis Enrique’s Barcelona are still two points ahead of their closest competitors Atletico Madrid. The Catalan giants have suffered two losses and a draw in their 14 fixtures in the Spanish league this season.
Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid are doing well, and they seem set to challenge the Spanish giants for the La Liga title. Atletico grabbed three points with a 2 – 0 win over Granada, courtesy of goals by Diego Godin and Antoine Greizmann.
Granada, Levante and the newly promoted Las Palmas are currently in the relegation zone. But there is still a lot of time for improvement and the competition at the bottom of the La Liga table is very much open.