Former Real Madrid midfielder Ruben de la Red believes it is far too early to judge Rafael Benitez as the club’s head coach.
Following a mixed run of results in pre-season, Madrid began competitive life under Carlo Ancelotti’s successor with a disappointing 0-0 draw away to Sporting Gijon at the weekend.
However, De la Red – a product of the Madrid youth system – says the Santiago Bernabeu faithful must have patience with the former Liverpool boss as he aims to guide them to a first Liga title since 20012.
“It’s still too early to judge Benitez. We have to be patient and give him time. When you come to a new team, you try to implement your idea over a few months. I’m sure he’ll do well,” the former Spain international said.
“We’ve seen that all teams are still in preparation and they’re not at their best. Real Madrid have done a very important job during pre-season, especially in defence. With their attacking potential, goals have to come. I wouln’t worry about that.
“Real Madrid must have patience. I’m sure they will do well because Benitez knows the club.”
De la Red has also backed Gareth Bale to adapt to a more central role this season as Benitez toys with the best way to exploit the Wales star’s speed in attack.
“Each coach has his particular version of football and where each player can perform better,” said the 30-year-old. “I think it’s great there are players that can play in different positions.
“Bale has already played in that position at Tottenham and he was top scorer in the Premier League. In that sense, I don’t think anything is new for him, so we don’t have to worry about it.”
De la Red also believes Barcelona are struggling due to their inability to field new signings prior to January, but has little doubt they will be fighting Madrid for trophies come next spring.
“Barcelona are suffering because their squad is too small as they can’t sign yet, but it’s also nice to see how they fight against adversity,” he added.
“I don’t think we should compare Real Madrid and Barcelona. These are two teams that will be fighting for La Liga, the Champions League, Copa del Rey… They’ll be fighting for all titles, like every year.”