Benitez 'optimistic' following Real stalemate

Rafael Benitez remained upbeat despite Sunday's frustrating La Liga draw at Sporting Gijon.

Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez sought to take the positives from his side's surprise 0-0 draw at Sporting Gijon, citing the team's character as a promising sign.

Benitez made his Real bow at El Molinon on Sunday, but saw his side frustrated by the Liga newcomers as the visitors failed to fire.

Despite an inauspicious start to Real's campaign, Benitez felt his side showed character, telling reporters: "In the first half we gave Sporting options, but in the second we could have won the game. We lacked confidence.

"We just missed that last pass when we got in front of the keeper. We had many shots on goal, but without precision.

"The team has shown character and personality in the second half. That is why I am optimistic.

"This is the beginning. Now we will continue to adjust things and improve physically."

The draw also marked Sergio Ramos' first outing as captain, having signed a new five-year contract with the club.

"The first half was not good, the team lost possession, but when we took charge of the game we were not able to take our chances and score," Ramos told Canal+.

"Today it is very difficult to win on any pitch, but we would have loved the three points.

"In the second half we had control of the game but we could not take our chances."