Benitez hails hard-working Madrid bounceback win


Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez lauded his players’ work rate despite another underwhelming display as they beat Eibar 2-0 on Sunday to close to within six points of Barcelona at the top of La Liga.

Gareth Bale’s first Madrid goal in three months just before half-time and Cristiano Ronaldo’s late penalty got Real back to winning ways a week after being humiliated 4-0 at home by Barca.

And Benitez hinted that a lack of hard work may have been at the root of Madrid’s inferiority last weekend as he was quick to praise the difference in attitude of his players at Ipurua.

“A victory like today is a win for the team. A victory thanks to the work of everyone who has participated, including those who came on to lend a hand,” said Benitez.

“The important thing was to get the three points and do so with this spirit of sacrifice.

“The fans know that the most important thing when you have players of this quality is that they also work as they did today. That is the key if we want to continue being strong in the future.”

Barcelona’s sensational form of late spearheaded by Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar has seen many write off Madrid’s title chances just 13 games into the campaign.

However, Benitez warned that after a spate of early season injuries, his side will get stronger as the season wears on.

“We are in November. We have missed a lot of players through injury and the team is recovering players slowly but surely.

“I am still optimistic and think we have a great team to keep fighting in every game until the end.”