Madrid - Coach Rafa Benitez was given a vote of confidence Monday by troubled Spanish giants Real Madrid, two days after an embarrassing 4-0 meltdown at home to eternal rivals Barcelona.
"Benitez has our complete support and confidence," said Real president Florentino Perez, who is also being called upon to resign by the angry fans.
"He needs time. Many players have been out injured for two months ... The team has been on the decline since January, that's why we brought in Benitez. But he cannot fix things from one day to the next, these things take time."
Perez angrily denied media reports that he had influenced Benitez' team selection, saying: I have never done that and I never will."
Real are currently third in La Liga, two points behind second-placed Atletico Madrid and six behind leaders Barcelona.
An online poll showed 66 per cent of readers blaming Perez rather than Benitez for Real's situation, and many fans called for his resignation at the end of the Barca defeat.
"I am largely to blame for this situation, I do accept that. I understand the anger of the fans, but I am asking for support for the coach and the squad."