Rafael Benitez believes Real Madrid are performing better than they are getting credit for in 2015-16.
The head coach is under pressure at the Santiago Bernabeu, with his side sitting six points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona after suffering a humbling 4-0 home defeat to their arch-rivals in El Clasico last month.
Wednesday’s Copa del Rey win over Cadiz has been overshadowed amid claims Madrid fielded an ineligible player in the form of Denis Cheryshev.
Benitez, though, has been impressed by Madrid’s response of three victories in three different competitions since that loss and feels his players deserve credit, particularly considering the injuries they have had to deal with.
“We have won three straight since Barca,” he said at his media conference ahead of Saturday’s game against Getafe.
“This is a long season and we are doing well – much better than some people think.
“It is very important that we keep getting players back from injury, to manage best possible the squad, and be competitive until the end.
“This is a team accustomed to the demands but we know Getafe will not be an easy game. It is a league match and we will have to play with maximum intensity.”
Benitez also praised the qualities of Karim Benzema, who continues to be in the spotlight after he reiterated his denial of any wrongdoing in the Mathieu Valbuena sex-tape case in an appearance on French television this week.
“He is a fundamental player for us – he has great quality and helps others to play better,” added Benitez.
“He is ready to play, and could start on Saturday. I don’t know about leaks [suggesting he may be kept out of the France team] but we must let Karim have presumption of innocence which everybody deserves.”