Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez says his side should not “waste time” paying attention to critics of their form this season.
Madrid sit top of La Liga after going unbeaten in their first nine matches, but Benitez has come under pressure for a perceived defensive tactical approach.
However, the former Napoli and Liverpool boss insisted his players should only pay attention to their position in the standings and not mutterings from the media or supporters.
“If I were not Spanish or from Madrid, coming from another country, I would say ‘What’s going on here?'” he said.
“But Madrid are a great club who are used to being high up the table. The anti-Madridistas will look at things differently.
“We have to enjoy our status as undefeated leaders and not waste time with what other people say.”
Benitez revealed Madrid will face something of an injury crisis for the visit of Las Palmas on Saturday, with James Rodriguez, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Keylor Navas and Sergio Ramos all set to miss out.
“Keylor has a small problem. We’re not going to risk him, Ramos, Benzema or James. We have the resources to face the next game,” said Benitez.
“Gareth is on track [in his recovery from a calf injury], as we hoped. We won’t force the situation, with him or James.
“Our priority is to do the best for Madrid and the players we have. James trained today, he felt good. We’ll look at things on Monday and see if he is ready then [for the Champions League]. I’m optimistic.”
Benitez, who hopes to see both James and Benzema fit within the next week, says he will not stop the Colombia star from joining up with the national team for November’s World Cup qualifiers.
“We’re taking care of James as best we can. All footballers, if they’re okay, should go with their national teams, as FIFA rules say. We can’t avoid that,” he added.
“I hope he scores a lot of goals for Colombia, but he has to be in a good condition to do that.”
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