Rafa Benitez explained injured players will not recover on time to feature against Malaga on Saturday. Thus, Sergio Ramos, Gareth Bale, Danilo and James Rodriguez will miss the La Liga clash.
In a press conference ahead of the game, the Spaniard said these players “are improving, but they are not ready yet.” He also revealed Pepe could also miss the match: “He ended the match against Athletic with problems and we are considering whether taking the risk of lining him up or not.”
Asked about the team’s great start of the season, Benitez was cautious: “Numbers are good, but a race doesn’t end in the first curve. We have to keep collecting good statistics to be able to fight for all titles at the end of the season. We are fine and we are confident, but we know this is just the start.”
The Los Blancos manager also explained why Cristiano Ronaldo has not been affected by his rotation system yet: “The most important player you have to keep in the field is the one that can score a goal at any moment. If a match gets ugly, you always try to keep that player in the field.”
Modric has also played more minutes than the average, and Benitez said he will rest when needed: “When we value the player’s condition, we look assess how he is feeling, we speak to the physiotherapists and doctors… This could be a game for Modric to rotate, but he says he is fine.”
Asked about the system he’s using, Benitez said “this is something you have to modify depending on the players and the match.” “We started with a 4-3-3 formation and made adjustments when necessary. Sometimes it can be confusing, but it can solve many problems. In the pre-season we worked tactics, but now we spend less time with that because we need more intense trainings,” he added.