Madrid ‘more adaptable’ under Benitez

Rafa Benitez believes Real Madrid have become more adaptable under his reign ahead of Sunday’s capital derby against Atletico Madrid in La Liga.

The former Liverpool and Valencia boss has guided Los Blancos to six wins and two draws in his first eight competitive matches at the helm, and he believes their ability to react to any given situation has markedly improved from last season.

“It will be a match of character and passion above all,” he said at a Press conference.

“[Atleti] will be organised, with intensity and quality, but our players know that will it be very difficult.

“We must respond with character and personality and try to play football. [Due to my experience with Madrid], I know exactly what these kind of games are about.

“We have to win, one way or another, but Atletico are a great team, who have been doing very well in recent seasons, so we have to be very focused.

“We will use the ball, trying not to make mistakes so they don’t catch us out on the counter, but they can be aggressive.

“We’ll make sure we can handle all hypotheses, regardless of whether they sit back or push up.

“I see the team in good shape, accumulating good numbers and feeling good sensations. We’re moving on the right track and at a good level.

“I don’t have an ideal Madrid in mind. I have the best team at my disposal, which has been furthered in quality and choice with the players who have recovered, and that benefits us.

“My opinion of them hasn’t changed, despite [poor] recent results. They have excellent qualities and it’ll be difficult.

“The results mean nothing, as happened with Granada and Malaga. They’re a well-drilled and very committed team.

“I wouldn’t take any of [Atleti’s] players out. I just want mine to be the best and do well.

“The strength of a team lies in knowing how to adapt [to any given situation] and that’s where we’ve improved the most.”

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