Rafa Benitez has hailed his Real Madrid squad for “their attitude and performances” in China following Thursday’s penalties victory over Milan.
Los Blancos lifted the International Champions Cup as a goalless draw was settled in their favour from the spot, and the Coach believes his team have shown a marked improvement since his appointment, most notably from a defensive perspective.
“We faced a Milan side who hadn’t travelled, had been [in China] for seven days and played with better rhythm than us,” he said after the game.
“I think the tour’s been very positive. All I can do is praise the players for their attitude and performances.
“I think we knew the characteristics of the squad, their firepower and quality [before my staff and I got here], and it’s been seen on many occasions during the tour, although I’ve placed emphasis on our defensive game.
“Obviously a lot of work remains to be done, but not conceding goals, watching the team rarely grant chances to their rivals and still score goals is quite positive.
“It’s the players who make the difference. I’ve only given them some ideas, but they’ve taken them on board.
“We’ve made very good steps forward, considering it was the last match of our tour.
“I like working with all the players so they can all improve and don’t leave anyone out.
“Clearly, the players who start are more important than those who don’t, but we want to work for those who are less important because they’ll end up being more [important] as the season progresses.
“[Gareth Bale] has been very good [in his new position], although it also depends on how the team play.
“He’s attacked space, moved between the lines and used his head. He gives us important power in attack.
“We will work with enthusiasm and excitement, and from there the quality of the players will make a difference.”