Skip to main content

Benitez dismisses disharmony claims

Rafa Benitez shrugged off suggestions of dressing room discontent and insisted Real Madrid are "extra-motivated" ahead of Saturday's Clasico meeting with Barcelona.

Speculation has been rife that senior members of the squad – in particular Cristiano Ronaldo – are unhappy with Benitez's tactics but the former Liverpool boss was in defiant mood in Friday's media conference.

He told a journalist who brought up the subject: "I respect your profession, the work you do, the message you pass on to the fans and sometimes you have to look for a story where there is no story. It's not true.

"I have worked as a coach for many years and so far it has worked."

The situation is reported to have come to a head following the 3-2 defeat at Sevilla in Madrid's last Liga game but Benitez was happy to brush the subject to one side and focus on preparing the players for his biggest test in charge.

He added: "The players are extra motivated for this game and they are a very professional group. Big players like to play in big games against big clubs.

"There is extra motivation this week so I am very optimistic going into this game.

"We lost in Seville but we were without several key players. We played very well in the first half, not so well in the second. It's something we have analysed and worked on."