Rafa Benitez refused to rule out any more Real Madrid signings after the Audi Cup final defeat to Bayern Munich.
A late Robert Lewandowski goal gave the hosts the victory against a Madrid side lacking Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.
Pepe was also substituted early in the contest with an injury and Benitez explained the situation following the final whistle.
“We knew this could happen playing two games in two days. Pepe already had some trouble yesterday so to prevent injury, we brought him off,” AS reports the Coach saying of the defender.
“In the case of Bale, we didn’t want to risk him. It wasn’t recommended to play the players who played yesterday [against Tottenham Hotspur].
“We got to give Danilo a bit more experience on the right but the players are the important thing and the goal is to keep working while protecting the squad.
“I don’t know [if Benzema will be fit for the first League game against Sporting Gijon]. We’ll see how he develops.”
Benitez then assessed the Audi Cup as a whole, and explained one of the tactical innovations he has experimented with over the summer.
“I leave the tournament with a good feeling as the young players got experience and for the work the team has done, but sad about the result,” he considered.
“Bayern had a gear more than us and it showed. We lacked possession and couldn’t keep the ball in our attack to create danger.
“Gradually the team fell backwards. We created some counter-attacks but not enough to win. We need to keep adjusting to reach the level we were at in Australia.”
There remains speculation over Benitez’s goalkeepers after the exit of Iker Casillas, the arrival of Kiko Casilla, and the long-running move for Manchester United’s David De Gea.
When asked if Casilla or Navas was going to start the season with the gloves, Benitez gave little away.
“They both have to earn the right to start,” he replied, before discussing the transfer window.
“We have a good team but Coaches always want to improve. The window is open until August 31.”