‘Madrid hurt, eager for revenge’

Rafa Benitez doesn’t accept that Real Madrid have become a poor team overnight but admits the Clasico defeat ‘hurt’ and the team are ‘eager for revenge.’

Madrid were heavily beaten by Barcelona on Saturday and lost the Sevilla in the League game prior, Benitez having to defend the squad at a Press conference to preview the Champions League game against Shakhtar Donetsk.

“Obviously we haven’t deteriorated. We have a great team, a great squad, we were 14 unbeaten, leaders and with spectacular numbers,” the Coach protested, AS reports.

“It’s true we’ve lost the last two League games and the last one was important, and we are hurt and eager for revenge. We have to win as soon as possible.

“The game against Barca has left us down, we lost and worse was the manner of the defeat. We have to look forward, to win and qualify as group winners. Shakhtar are a tough opponent, with good quality players.”

Benitez was asked about his position, the fan reaction to him as Coach and to the club in general after unhappy scenes during the Clasico rout.

“We’re united. I appreciate the support of the President. We’ve talked, analysed the mistakes, first of all mine,” he revealed.

“We have a great enthusiasm to not let these defeats affect us and soon we will recover the feelings we had before. We know the mistakes made [against Barca] and all the good things we did before.

“The fans’ support for Madrid is evident. After the match I was hurt but eager for revenge, confidence, enthusiasm and energy.

“Of course I have confidence in the squad. If I didn’t we wouldn’t have been undefeated for 14 games. Now what we need to do is go back to what we do well and what we were doing before.

“The second half against Paris Saint-Germain at home was good and the first half at Sevilla was the best of the season.

“I have experience and confidence that two losses wouldn’t change all the good that we’ve done. The fact the President came out to speak means he is facing up and is there to help us.

“There wasn’t a lack of attitude, there are other greater influences. I have no doubt about these players. We have to retain the many positives we’ve done for many games.”

Benitez confirmed he would make changes to the Madrid XI for the game in Lviv, but warned against looking too much into his decisions.

“No matter what I do it will be construed as each person wants,” he complained.

“I like to make rotations and there will be new faces. Players will have the opportunity to demonstrate their level, because that will strengthen the team competitively.

“Cristiano Ronaldo is a great player, very important to us. I have no problem with him.

“Casemiro [Luka] Modric and [Toni] Kroos are three quality players but the group is outstanding. The key is that there is cohesion, work and effort.

“Now what is needed is the team to continue on their good line, to forget about this last game-and-a-half.”

Tags El Clasico Rafa Benitez