International

Benitez calm despite goal drought

2015-08-19 19:00
Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo (AFP)

Madrid - Real Madrid coach Rafa Benitez is not worried about his side's relative goal drought in their final warm-up matches before they begin their La Liga campaign on Sunday with a trip to promoted Sporting Gijon.

Real edged Turkish side Galatasaray 2-1 in Tuesday's Santiago Bernabeu trophy invitational match, having drawn 0-0 with Norwegian club Valerenga and lost 1-0 to Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich in their previous two friendlies.

Benitez, who took over from Carlo Ancelotti at the end of a 2014-15 season devoid of major trophies, told a news conference he was sure the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Jese would soon be scoring freely.

"It does not concern me," Benitez said when asked about his team's recent lack of goals.

"We had 22 shots and I am convinced that will bring us goals," added the former Liverpool, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Napoli and Valencia coach, who was making his debut at Real's Bernabeu stadium.

"I am more concerned about closing down the opponent when they try to bring the ball out of defence and preventing counter attacks.

"I am very pleased and confident. Beyond that, we'll try to score against Sporting to put an end to this debate."

The main domestic challenge for Real and Benitez this term will be preventing champions and great rivals Barcelona winning a sixth La Liga title in eight years.

They are also chasing a record-extending 11th European crown after Ancelotti guided them to a long-awaited 10th in his first term in 2013-14.

Benitez, who won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005, said Real's France striker Karim Benzema and their Portugal centre back Pepe may recover more quickly than expected from injury and could be available for the Gijon match.

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