Real Madrid manager Rafael Benitez bemoans lack of precision in La Liga opener
Rafael Benitez’s first competitive game incharge of Real Madrid did not have an ideal ending as by his own admission, the Galacticos’ lack of precision played a huge role in the scoreless draw against newly promoted Sporting Gijon. The Spanish manager added that he and the team would continue to tweak in an attempt to improve.
Real started the game without Karim Benzema, with youngster Jese Rodriguez leading the line and the usual duo of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale flanked the striker. Colombian star James Rodriguez started on the bench but would make an appearance later on along with new signing Mateo Kovacic as Benitez’s men went looking for a win.
Both sides created chances but neither could poke the ball over the line. In more of a literal sense for the home side as Sanabria’s header for Gijon ricocheted off the crossbar onto the ground but failed to fully cross the line in a matter off centimeters. The officials got the call right despite the absence of goal-line technology from La Liga. Another decision at the other end was more controversial as Cristiano Ronaldo was brought down in the box as he chased a good cross in an attempt to head it towards goal but his appeals fell on deaf ears.
Benitez bemoaned the lack of clinical finishing from his team speaking after the game as the BBC reported. He said: “We lacked precision in the final pass and accuracy in the shots on goal," said Benitez.
“In general, we lost the ball too much in the first half and gave them a lot of opportunities to counter-attack.”
“In the second half we had more control, more possession, more danger but without that final pass to leave you with a clear chance at goal.”
Real had 27 shots in the game but only managed to get 8 of them on target and obviously none of them made it past the goalkeeper. Given the attacking talent at hand, Madrid will be really disappointed not to have managed to get on the scoresheet. The lack of goals has been an alarming feature of their pre-season as well managing to score in only 4 games out of 8. But Benitez remains optimistic about his team’s chances and scope for improvement.
“We will continue to tweak and improve things like the physical condition, the precision and the co-ordination between the players and in that sense I remain optimistic,” he said.