Rafael Benitez: ‘I remain optimistic’

Rafael Benitez Real Madrid manager

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New Real Madrid manager Rafael Benitez believes his side will start to click in the next few games following their disappointing 0-0 draw against Sporting Gijon.

The newly-promoted side were given a difficult challenge for their opening fixtures of the season but they produced a spirited display to earn their first point of the campaign.

The capital giants had chances during the match but they had to do without striker Karim Benzema. Jese Rodriguez, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale all had spells up front but none of the forward line could find a way through.

Bale and Ronaldo both had chances but both were thwarted by an inspired performance from goalkeeper Pichu Cuellar – while Gijon could have scored when Guerrero’s header appeared to cross the line after a powerful header at the near post.

Madrid, 6.00 to win the Uefa Champions League, are now two points behind Barcelona after they beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0 on Sunday but Benitez insists he is feeling optimistic about the future.

He told reporters: “I knew it would be a match where Sporting would push us hard. We needed to be fast and accurate but took many shots but without precision. In the first half we gave Sporting options.”

He said: “We must improve in that regard. We need to work harder. Our reaction in the second half was good. We showed character and personality.

“I’m happy with what I saw in the second half. I remain optimistic. Sporting played very well, they were very tidy.”

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