‘Benitez prefers 1-0 to 5-4’

Bolo Zenden has defended Rafa Benitez from criticism but accepts the Real Madrid Coach is by nature a conservative tactician.

Zenden played under Benitez at Liverpool and was then his assistant during Benitez’s brief time as Chelsea manager, and has spoken about his old boss to Dutch magazine VI.

“Benitez creates teams very strong and hard for opposing teams to handle,” Zenden said, according to Mundo Deportivo.

“His method is keeping a clean sheet and then start playing and finding the goals from there.

“In Madrid they want attractive football and a lot of goals. There had to be some concession to that in the pre-season.

“With Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez, Madrid have a lot of creativity in attack. It will be hard to find a different concept to Carlo Ancelotti and Rafa realises that himself, but he will surely work in search of balance.

“It’s no coincidence he advocates putting in another defensive midfielder. You can also ask Marcelo to stop his attacking raids. Maybe soon everything in general is more defensive, something for which he won’t be thanked.

“If you give Benitez the choice between winning 1-0 or 5-4 as Barcelona did in the UEFA Super Cup, he will choose the first one.”

Zenden was also asked about Benitez’s relationship with his players, and he cited the example of John Terry and Frank Lampard at Chelsea in reply.

“Chelsea had those two guys from the old guard and there were doubts about them at the time,” he recalled.

“It wasn’t always easy but Benitez handled the so-called ‘difficult ones’ reasonably well.

“He isn’t a Coach who is close to his players. He seeks a safe distance. He doesn’t do personal questions of an individual player.”

Tags Rafa Benitez Zenden