REAL MADRID

Benítez: "The problem at Madrid was more external than internal"

Former Real Madrid coach Rafa Benítez told Fox Sports: "Clearly my relationship with the majority of players was perfect. I wanted to create a group capable of winning the league..."

Benítez: "The problem at Madrid was more external than internal"
SCOTT HEPPELL AFP

Rafa Benítez has spoken about his experience at Real Madrid to Fox Sports Italy – an interview in which the Spaniard gave his version of events of his short stint at the club, as well as thoughts on his new life in Newcastle.

Arrival at Madrid: “It was a little strange. At first I was expecting to take a job in the Premier League, but then Madrid came calling. It was the fourth time that they had approached me – the team of my city, of my life, and it was time to say yes. I arrived at a great club and there everything has to be perfect, but I think we did a good job. It’s not always possible to control everything that’s going on around the team.”

"We were just two points off Barcelona..."

What went wrong: “The president wanted to do well in La Liga, clearly that was his priority, and to do that you need to have a side beyond just big names, where quality players really make a difference. That’s my way of working. That was my idea, but then things weren’t going so well, and for me they weren’t going well at more of an external level than internal level, because the team was working well. We were two points off Barcelona and we’d qualified from our Champions League group. I’ll repeat it, it was more of an external thing than internal.”

"My relationship with the players was perfect"

Relationship with players: “Our relationship was good. In a team there are those who play a lot and others who don’t, but clearly my relationship with the majority was perfect as they are very professional people. When you bring in a new coach, things change, but I think the positive thing was that I had to go there and I did. I wanted to create a group capable of winning the league, but in the end I wasn’t able to. You have to look forward, and now I have an exciting project at Newcastle in front of me.”