Real assistant Karanka plays down striker woes
MADRID (AFP) –
Real Madrid assistant boss Aitor Karanka played down concerns about his strikers’ inability to find the net after two more goals from Cristiano Ronaldo guided them to a 2-1 win over Celta Vigo.
Madrid created a host of clear opportunities in the first period but a combination of poor finishing and fine goalkeeping from Javi Varas meant it took until just after the hour mark for them to find the breakthrough as Ronaldo swept home a loose ball from close range.
Celta levelled moments later when Iago Aspas’ effort deflected in off Pepe but Ronaldo rescued his side once more as he converted his 42nd goal of the season from the penalty spot 19 minutes from time after Varas had fouled Kaka.
And despite Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain again failing to fire in front of goal, Karanka remains confident that both will eventually find the fine form they showed last season.
“The important thing is to create the chances,” he told reporters.
“Last year almost everything went in and this year that hasn’t been the case but, with time, they will start to score again.”
Karanka was, though, frustrated with Madrid’s profligacy in front of goal which could even have cost them two points when Park Chu-Young headed against the crossbar for the hosts in stoppage time.
“The first 20 minutes it was difficult for us to get into the game, we couldn’t find our rhythm, but in the last 15 minutes of the first-half we controlled the game better.
“We could have killed the game off but the goals didn’t arrive. They had chances too and at the end they could have equalised which would have been a shame.”
Jose Mourinho had taken the opportunity to rotate his squad once more as only four of the side that started the 2-1 victory over Manchester United in midweek also started at Balaidos.
Pepe was one of those recalled to the line-up and he stressed that it is important for Los Blancos to continue winning in the league, even if the Champions League and Copa del Rey are now their primary targets.
“We missed quite a lot of chances in the first-half but the team knew how to get through the difficult moments, fought hard and in the end the victory was deserved,” he said.
“As Real Madrid players we are very concentrated on what we have to do.
“It will be very difficult to fight for the league but any player that puts on the Madrid shirt always has to be motivated and honour the jersey.”
Celta boss Abel Resino meanwhile thought his players deserved more for their efforts, but is looking forward to a huge match with Galician rivals Deportivo la Coruna on Friday, with both sides rooted in the bottom three.
“The players are hurting because they have put in a great effort without getting any recompense,” he told reporters.
“But we have to lift ourselves because on Friday we have to give everything at the Riazor.”