Under-pressure Real Madrid coach Benitez defends tactics

Madrid, Aug 29 (IANS) Real Madrid manager Rafael Benitez defended himself against criticism after the team’s goalless draw against newly-promoted Sporting Gijon in their la Liga opener, denying claims that he is a defensive coach and recalling that his team “had most shots on target” in the match.

“I understand that there are now many media organisations and news must be published and developed continuously, but I am surprised that there is a permanent discussion about a technical decision,” Rafa said on Frday, reports Efe.

The coach spoke up for Welsh player Gareth Bale and the apparent lack of chances to score: “With Bale, it appears that a fast player, who can split defences, is good at headers and does so many things well, is a problem. It is great to have the opportunities that I have in attack with offensive players who can cut through defenders. It’s a blessing, not a problem.”

“We drew 0-0 and people say we are defensive. If we see the statistics, Real Madrid is the team that shot most at goal for the matchday. If doing that means being defensive, I’ve missed something while being abroad. Attacking is looking to hurt the opponent but a goalless draw is said to be defensive,” he argued.

Benitez explained that an entire season informs decisions that have apparently been called into question, such as putting Bale in midfield.

“A coach has to manage a quality offensive group and in the end they are only a certain number of positions in the starting 11. I still think that Gareth is a great player with his characteristics and quality. We must try to fit everyone in.

Everyone can have an opinion about where to put him but I have to manage a group to win that game and I am thinking of the whole competition and in the season where I have to handle the whole group dynamic in addition to line-ups,” he added.

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