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Benítez: "We did not underestimate Granada"

Ugly win, but Benítez wants everyone to give the opponent some credit.

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

It was a super ugly win, and one that brought some criticism to the team and Rafa Benítez in the press room, where Real Madrid was even blamed for disrespecting Granada.

First, the Spanish coach was asked about the main difference between this game and past blowout wins:

We knew that this could be a very tough match. Granada is a very organized team who play the counter well, and that's what we got. We lost a few balls that set up their counters, and we didn't finish our chances, which made things tougher for us. We had more control later in the game, except for the end where Granada was desperate and throwing balls into our territory in hopes to making something happen.

Did Real Madrid underestimate Granada?:

Definitely not. Real Madrid did not do that. I'm the first one that mentioned Granada's quality in the pre-match presser. That's something I told my players before and during the game. Granada played a good game, but in the end we scored the game-winning goal.

On Real Madrid not creating too many quality chances and looking a bit dull:

I think we had great chances. We didn't have anymore because Granada played such a great game on defense, but most of all, it was thanks to our mistakes. Aside from Granada's pressing, we were way too confident and lost some easy balls. With their speed, they took advantage of it. We lacked some quick, and accurate ball distribution.

On Granada being successful on the right wing:

In the end we even changed Lucas Vázquez to the left to help Marcelo on defence. We changed again in the second half the 4-4-2 to a 4-2-3-1. With Kovacic out there, their pace wasn't as good and we possessed the ball more. We missed that accuracy on the final pass and shot so we could kill the game.

Benítez was then asked about Lucas Vázquez playing before Jesé:

I don't like pointing at a specific player. I think Lucas worked well, and if he plays before other players it's because he's earned it. If we want to be competitive, the players have to work really hard so when they are needed, they are ready to take over a teammate. if not, then someone else will play and they have to work even harder. I'm happy with the entire team's attitude, but you can only pick 11. Lucas gave us speed and made us more dynamic, which helped us pull out a tough win without four important players.

That's could be considered a pretty clear dart for Jesé right there, even though Benítez denied it a couple questions later:

It's not a message for Jesé. He used to play before Lucas, but Lucas is in great shape. Jesé is fine, just as Cheryshev and Kovacic. We have to make our players competitive. Then, the coach will make the final call. From there, every week will be a new chance for them all. I have full confidence in Jesé.

Next, he asked about free kicks, and why Cristiano Ronaldo takes most of them:

We practice free kicks at times and Ronaldo scores a lot of goals from there. It's just a matter of trusting him because he wille ventrally score. There are teammates like James or Bale that aren't available right now, so, that plus Ronaldo's success in practice makes us trust him.

On Keylor Navas getting another clean sheet and whether he or the team deserve most of the credit:

The team, definitely. We can't give the opponent two or three chances. If it's just three chances, then we have to work hard to limit that number. Keylor has helped us there too. It's not easy to break records in any club. If Keylor hasn't allowed a goal after five games, then it means we have done a great job as a team.

On the crowd booing at the end:

When games end, I go straight to the dressing room. I'm happy with the team's attitude and the good result. We know we have to play better and improve, but sometimes things won't work as well as you want them to.

Is a lack of focus the main problem for Real Madrid right now?:

If we take a look at the results, I think the team has shown a great amount of focus, quality and intensity game after game. Without them, we wouldn't have the results we have. We faced a tough team, well-organised, that knew what they had to do. It was tough for us to interpret the game so we could take advantage of our quality. That's why we have to improve from the start, which we have done in past games.

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