Rafael Benitez: We are satisfied with the result, not the game
Head coach of Real Madrid gives his take on the match vs Shakhtar.
- What kind of injury does Bale have? How is he?
- He got a spasm in his calf muscle. We have to wait for a couple of days, we'll see what the doctor says. For now, we can’t tell you the exact injury type. While Ramos and Varane just got knocks. In the case of the last two players, I have more optimistic expectations.
- Bale was replaced by Kovacic. What do you make of his performance?
- The matter is that I gave Kovacic that role because our wingers moved well up and down their flanks. We thought that he would be more useful in midfield. We are more satisfied with the result than the game. Our game was cold, lacking some kind of spark. Shakhtar are a very organised team, who hold the ball well. Of course, they did not create many scoring chances, but we could see that the players of this team are quick, skilful and strong on the counter. It is very difficult to control such opponents. We have not produced any perfect performance, but converted the chances we had. Most importantly, we did not concede any goals. The forced substitutions were the only negative point.
- Aren’t you bothered that already in September you have so many injured players?
- No, I’m not. Varane and Ramos just got bruises. Anyway, I think that our team are well prepared physically.
- At the pre-match press conference, you never said that Ronaldo is the top player you’ve worked with. Did you do so to give Cristiano extra motivation?
- I wonder why you pay so much attention to that. Previously, I said yesterday that he is the best player in our team. I want to repeat it once again: I know Cristiano’s level and he shows it in every game, in every training session. He is the best footballer in the world. And please don’t ask me about that again! The thing is that I watch more what Cristiano does.
- Regarding Kovacic. Should Bale not recover, will he have a chance of playing in that role?
- Anyway, if Bale does not recover from injury, this position will be free for any player. Of course, everything will depend on the qualities of a particular opponent, on the game. Naturally, Kovacic will be able to help us, or maybe Jese or Lucas, or Cheryshev will deal with that.
- The result of this match is good enough, with the players’ injuries being an issue ...
- That’s right. As I said, we’ll have to see what sort of injuries we’ve got there ... What could be the most severe injury? The toughest is Bale’s, of course. But we need to wait and see what the doctors say.
- Can we say that Sergio Ramos will be left out?
- I've already covered that point. I think that Sergio and Varane just got bruises. I am an optimist in this matter, so I believe that their injuries are not heavy. But in any case, we have to wait. Varane got quite a blow, but I think that in a few days the situation will get clearer. This also concerns Bale, but, of course, his injury is more serious.