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Real Madrid defender Pepe urges teammates to respect the fans

Nived Zenith
890   //    04 Jan 2016, 14:16 IST
Pepe hopes that the new year will be good for the club and the fans

Real Madrid defender Pepe insists that the players should respect the fans even when they are not on your side. Pepe’s talk came after the 3-1 win for Real Madrid at home to Real Sociedad in the league.

The Los Blancos did not enjoy a convincing win like the scoreline suggested and were jeered by the fans during the clash. The jeers were aimed at manager Rafa Benitez and star striker Cristiano Ronaldo, who later hit back at the fans during his post-match interview. 

However, Pepe feels that the players should put in stronger shifts and convince the fans in order to get back their support which could prove vital for their push towards the title. He also admitted that they need to perform better as a team and that a collective effort can win back a majority of the fans. 

“The crowd got behind us. It’s to be expected that they complained when we dropped our intensity a little bit in the second half, coinciding with Real Sociedad’s goal. The fans call the shots and we respect that,” Pepe said. “It’s down to us to play, do our job and honour the shirt that we pull on, so as to ensure we send the fans away happy.”

The main thing was to get the win. We’re keeping on working hard and improving in every game,” he told reporters. “We’re professionals, we have to deal with criticism. We get talked about a lot but we have to focus on doing our job well. Hopefully, 2016 brings better fortunes and it’s a good year for everyone. Everyone’s opinions have to be respected,” he added. 

Rafa Benitez under pressure from fans

Benitez’s life at the Santiago Bernabeu has not been easy so far, the Spaniard took over from Carlo Ancelotti in June 2015 and has struggled to maintain a good relationship with the fans. Real Madrid are currently 3rd in the table, four points behind leaders Atletico Madrid, and their fans believe that a change in management is vital if they are to win the title again. 

The fans took their latest dig at the manager when they jeered at him during their 3-1 win against Sociedad at home. The visitors dominated possession and Real were slow in many instances during the game even though they ran out winners in the end.

The fans believe that their attacking flair is being destroyed and with Benitez already an unpopular figure and Real Madrid display far from convincing, the echoes for a change rings around the Bernabeu. 

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Nived Zenith
An aspiring sports journalist who likes to live life on the edge. Avid reader and a life-long Chelsea fan :)
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