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Benítez: "We have to improve our accuracy on that final pass"

It was a very disappointing debut for Rafa Benítez and his men, but the coach thinks the second half was very good, and that there's no reason to lose optimism so early.

Denis Doyle/Getty Images

The Spanish coach spoke after Real Madrid's disappointing La Liga debut.

He started by giving his general comments on the game:

It was a very tough first half for us. We lost so many balls, which gave the opponent chances to control the game and create danger. Our second half was a lot more intense, with more control and we created more chances. We could've won the game in the second half.

On what did Real Madrid miss in the first game of the season:

Accuracy on that last pass and accuracy on the final shot. In the first half we lost the ball a lot, giving the opponent lots of chances and options to counter attack or create danger. In the second half we possessed the ball more and created more chances and danger, but we missed accuracy on that final pass that could leave you in front of the GK.

On the anxiety of his strikers during the game:

In the end we played with a 4-3-3 so we could try to have more control in the middle and options on the wings for them. We missed that final pass so the strikers could try to score, or more accurate shots.

What caused his team to lose so many balls in the first half?:

You have to give the opponent credit. They were really disciplined and intense pressuring us. We risked the ball on many passes we shouldn't have attempted. That made them gain confidence as the first half went by, giving their defensive system opportunities to create some kind of danger on the counter attack.

Is Benítez worried about the lack of goals?:

We knew it was going to be a game against a hard-working opponent, so we had to be very intense and precise, that we had to move the ball quickly. All of that happened in the second half. We just shot a lot without a lot of precision. We have to improve on that, and now that we know that's the issue, work harder on fixing it.

On what does the Spanish coach rescue from this 0-0 result:

The work done in the second half. They showed character and personality and they had control of the game. The team clearly went for the win, but we just missed accuracy on that final pass/shot.

On his opponent, Sporting de Gijón:

It's clear that their players have worked together for a long time. Their ideas are very clear to them, and they are so familiar with their system. That's why this became such a hard game for us. We saw players with cramps in the end, which shows the intensity they played with the entire game, which made our midfield struggle so much to create chances.

On his strikers' positioning:

In order to make our strikers perform at their best, you need to be able to give them the liberty to move around wherever they see fit, and we actually saw lots of good plays from them. The thing is, during the second half, we had tighter spaces up there, which turns this into a precision or accuracy issue.

On the fans losing confidence about Benítez's project:

It's just the beginning. I think this team didn't win his opening Liga match last year either. I just save our second half work. We displayed more than what is needed in this kind of game. We need to adjust and improve on everything: conditioning, accuracy and understanding between the players, but I'm still optimistic.

As a final comment, Real Madrid did win their last season opener: 2-0 win against Córdoba. It just wasn't Benítez brightest day.

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