MADRID, August 24 – Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez admitted his side were wasteful in front of goal as his first game in charge of the Spanish giants ended in a 0-0 draw away to promoted Sporting Gijon.
The visitors had 27 shots on goal at El Molinon without finding the net and also failed to score in four of their eight pre-season friendlies since Benitez took over.
“We lacked precision in the final pass and accuracy in the shots on goal,” said the former Liverpool and Chelsea manager.
“In general, we lost the ball too much in the first-half and gave them a lot of opportunities to counter-attack. In the second-half we had more control, more possession, more danger but without that final pass to leave you with a clear chance at goal.
“In the first half we lacked things and in the second we had much more that we needed for this type of game. We will continue to tweak and improve things like the physical condition, the precision and the coordination between the players and in that sense I remain optimistic.”
Benitez started with Gareth Bale in a more central position to that which he has played wide on the right for the past two seasons.
However, even a change of position failed to bring the best out the Welshman as he failed to make his mark and ended up back on the wing as Benitez changed his formation in the search for a winning goal.
“We finished 4-3-3 to have the players who could arrive to score goals closer to the area, to have more control in midfield and width with the full-backs,” he added.
“You could see that at the end we just lacked the final pass or that our shots were more precise.”
Madrid captain Sergio Ramos was also critical of his side’s first-half display which already leaves them playing catch up to Barcelona who won 1-0 at Athletic Bilbao.
“It’s clear that the first half wasn’t good at all,” said the Spanish international.
“In the second-half the team controlled possession a lot more, we took the initiative and in the few chances we had we didn’t take them.
“We have to analyse it and continue improving. We would have liked to start with three points.
“It is never good not to win. Sporting pressed high, especially in the first half. In the second we had more control and we couldn’t kill the game with the chances.”