Rafa Benitez hails player’s character

Rafa Benitez hails player’s character


Real Madrid boss has hailed the character shown by his players during the 2-1 win over Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday.

Karim Benzema scored twice for Los Blancos at San Mames but the team had goalkeeper Keylor Navas to thank for ensuring they left the Basque country with all three points having made some brilliant saves during the game.

The 10-time Champions League winners were the better team in the first half, enjoying most of the possession and took the lead through Benzema’s strike. Bilabo equalised midway through the second period but Benzema scored again three minutes later to put his side back in front. Los Blancos then had to defend heroically as the hosts put up a battle to get their second goal.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Benitez stated: “The team has shown two faces. Possession in the first half and the character to suffer in the second. The team will take confidence in itself from having won at San Mames. We had 20 shots at goal. We are leaving here reinforced. This was a different game. We did things we had not done before. Until now we had not had to show character.”

He also went on to praise Benzema for his brace. Benitez commented: “[Benzema] is a great player. He is a different type of No. 9, not a penalty-box poacher. He has quality and makes a good partner for Cristiano. When they are together they are very dangerous. His movement creates lots of problems for the opposition defenders. I have told Karim I want him to score between 20 and 25 goals, and add assists to that, but he is on the right path.”

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