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Beating Celta with a weakened team a great sign - Benitez

Rafael Benitez believes Real Madrid securing a La Liga victory over Celta Vigo despite being without a number of key players is an excellent sign for the future.

Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Pepe and James Rodriguez are still out of action, but Madrid were still able to record an entertaining and controversial 3-1 away win on Saturday.

The result, which came through goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Danilo and Marcelo, moved Benitez's men three points clear of Celta and Barcelona – who play Eibar on Sunday - at the top of the table.

Celta produced a spirited display, keeping the game alive until the sixth minute of stoppage time – when Marcelo wrapped up the victory – despite their fury after having Gustavo Cabral sent off for dissent in the second half. 

"These games, with missing players, allowed us to use the whole squad," Benitez said after the match.

"To keep winning is a very positive sign, not just for the results, but for the future.

"We created many chances, but suffered for not getting a third goal when we needed to. We must be positive as that is a great result after tough game on Wednesday against PSG.

"The team showed character and quality. We held on, took the three points in the end against very good team at a very difficult place to go."

The Madrid head coach also issued thinly veiled criticism of the Spanish fixture calendar after playing a tough away game two-and-a-half days after their 0-0 Champions League draw in France against Paris Saint-Germain.

"It was a surprise for us to play on Saturday after Wednesday," continued Benitez.

"I am sure that in coming weeks, other teams will also get the same short turnaround time after participating in a European game."

Madrid are back in action at the Santiago Bernabeu against Las Palmas next Saturday, before they face the return game against PSG.