An emotional Rafael Benitez insisted he will not change his coaching approach after being unveiled as Carlo Ancelotti’s successor at Real Madrid.
Madrid-born Benitez was confirmed as the new Real coach on Wednesday, taking over from Ancelotti, who was sacked last week after missing out on success in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League.
The appointment signals a homecoming for Benitez, with the Spaniard having worked his way through the youth ranks at Real and played for the reserve team and also served as assistant coach to Vicente del Bosque at the Santiago Bernabeu.
And the significance of the occasion was evidently too much for the former Napoli, Valencia, Liverpool, Inter and Chelsea boss, who cut a tearful figure at his presentation.
Yet, while it was a day of celebration for Benitez, he is clear over what will be expected of him at his boyhood club.
“The only thing that counts at this club is to be first,” Benitez said. “To finish second isn’t good enough. We have to try and win everything up for grabs. Here we have to try and win every game. We have the squad to do it.
“This is definitely the best squad [he’s had at his disposal]. I’m going to work with so many quality footballers.
“I’ve won titles thanks to my system of work, it’s the main reason why I’m here. You have to adapt to different teams and different players, but you have try to maintain your discipline and score goals.”
Asked about how he will manage the egos in the Real dressing room, Benitez added: “I’ve worked with so many teams, so many dressing rooms. I like to exchange ideas because we all want to win.
“If a footballer doesn’t agree then you try and have a chat to work things out. Here there are lots of stars, I’m sure if we all row in the same direction, we will have success.
“This is a league I know, a club I know, yes it’s demanding here. I’m going to try and call on my experience from other clubs and if we get most things right, with the quality we have in this squad, I’m sure we’re going to go far.”
With Real heavily linked with a move for David de Gea, Benitez said when quizzed on the Manchester United goalkeeper: “We will not name names today.”
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