Champions League

Benitez happy with response to Barcelona thrashing

Rafael Benitez was pleased with the performance of his players despite Shakhtar Donetsk almost pegging back Real Madrid’s 4-0 lead in Wednesday’s Champions League clash.

Two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and one each for Luka Modric and Dani Carvajal put the 2014 European champions in command in Lviv before a late fightback from the home side almost robbed them of three points.

Alex Teixeira scored a penalty before stabbing home a late shot after Dentinho buried a header, but Madrid held on to the 4-3 victory and secured their place in the next round as group winners.


Despite having seen his side concede 10 goals in their last three games, Benitez insisted the focus should be on the large portion of the match which Madrid controlled – especially given their Clasico hammering by Barcelona last Saturday.

“After the game against Barca, to react like that and go 4-0 up, is positive,” he said afterwards. “There are two mistakes, one in concentration and another, which I’m not sure was a penalty.

“With 4-0 you can think the game is done. I’m more satisfied with the first 78 minutes. We played a great game until we made the mistakes for the penalty and the corner [for Dentinho’s goal]. That changed everything, they took our confidence.

“They are mistakes and that’s that. I want to stick with the positive and we’ll analyse the mistakes. It was a great effort by all the players.”

Luka Modric capped an impressive display with his first goal of the season for Madrid but Benitez refused to single out any one player for specific praise.

“I don’t like to individualise,” he added. “There are players who we speak about less but who are essential because they bring balance and give meaning to the play. I want to emphasise everyone, everybody contributed. We have to maintain that level.”

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