Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez insists his squad is united in the aftermath of their Clasico humiliation against Barcelona.
Madrid’s bitter rivals left the Santiago Bernabeu with all three points after a resounding 4-0 victory on Saturday, during which considerable discontent was voiced from the stands by the home supporters.
Club president Florentino Perez hosted a hastily arranged news conference on Monday to state his backing for Benitez.
Perez also dismissed reports star forward Cristiano Ronaldo was seeking to leave Madrid amid an alleged poor relationship with his coach, the president claiming the rumours are “an attempt to destabilise the club”.
Speaking at a media briefing ahead of the Champions League match away to Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday, Benitez acknowledged the support shown to him by Perez and reported a display of unity at a team meeting – with his players apparently committed to turning their fortunes around.
Benitez said: “We are all united. I have heard the support from the board of directors and from the president.
“We’ve spoken between the players and myself. It is the players and myself that have to sort things out on the football pitch.”
The defeat to Barcelona was Madrid’s second consecutive loss in La Liga, having gone down 3-2 at Sevilla prior to that.
A 14-match unbeaten run in all competitions preceded the first competitive defeats of Benitez’s tenure and the former Liverpool and Napoli boss was keen to look at the bigger picture.
“I think we have a great team, great players and because of this we went 14 games unbeaten,” he said.
“It is clear that we’ve lost a couple of games and the last game against Barcelona, which was a very important game, didn’t go well.
“We’ve got great desire to put it right and we want to get out and work as hard as we possibly can to win as many games a possible going into the future.”
Benitez added: “These two defeats don’t change the sensation that we have in the team – that we are learning and growing.
“We want to try and recover the good sensations that we have as a team but the work and the commitment and the effort that we put in won’t change
“We want to work hard until the end of the season to give the fans as much happiness as we can.”
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