Football

Three reasons why Real Madrid should be happy with Rafael Benitez so far

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When Rafael Benitez was announced as manager of Real Madrid, there was little fanfare from within the dressing room.

A tightly-knit group of players who had let it be known that they were none too happy with the club's decision to terminate the services of Benitez's predecessor Carlo Ancelotti. A manager who until now was statistically the most successful in Real's history.

That honour now falls to Benitez although with less than 10 games under his belt arguably the end of the season is the best time to judge whether Florentino Perez and his board made the right decision.

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The Spaniard himself should be well pleased with the start he has made in the hot-seat.

Here's three reasons why he has been so successful in such a short period of time...

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System

The single major change that Benitez has made has worked wonders.

By installing Gareth Bale as a number 10 behind Karim Benzema as a main striker with Cristiano Ronaldo and James Rodriguez as the wide players, the manager has single-handedly solved the puzzle.

The puzzle of how to integrate four world-class players into a cogent attacking force, whilst also retaining a degree of control of the midfield and defence.

Marcelo and Danilo have been shuttling alongside Kroos and Modric if necessary to flood the midfield, and only one goal conceded and 18 scored is testament to Benitez having got things spot on.

No favourites

If there is one thing that Benitez doesn't indulge it is ego. Whether you're the best player in the world or not, you work as hard for the team as the next man.

Having no favourites in the dressing room could easily have been predicted.

Steven Gerrard wrote in his autobiography some time ago that he would've liked a little bit more "love" for the then Liverpool manager at times, but Rafa just doesn't do "matey."

Ronaldo got the message as early as the second training session but soon fell in line.

Dressing room equilibrium can only be enhanced by the same.

Clean slate

Everyone in the team has started again from scratch. That means genuine competition for places that perhaps Real haven't had for the last couple of seasons.

Ostensibly much of the team will still remain as it had been under Ancelotti for the simple reason that many of those players are under no illusions that their places will be given to others if they think that they can coast through the season.

It's up to the supposed "fringe" players like Jese Rodriguez and Isco to prove that they are worthy of a regular starting spot.

Because rest assured that Benitez will give them the opportunity if others are not performing on the training pitch and in games.

Nothing like the threat of losing your place to keep a player on his toes, however much he earns.

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Topics:
Gareth Bale
La Liga
Karim Benzema
Cristiano Ronaldo
James Rodriguez
Real Madrid
Football

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