Real Madrid’s thrashing of Malmo was the perfect response to criticism that coach Rafa Benitez is too defensive but they still need to prove themselves against tougher opposition with more at stake.
Cristiano Ronaldo hit four and Karim Benzema three in their record-equalling 8-0 Champions League group stage win to ease the pressure built up by last month’s hammering from Barcelona and intensified further by disqualification from the King’s Cup.
It was a match, though, where Real had already qualified for the last 16 and rested players, including Gareth Bale and Luka Modric.
Facing teams with greater calibre, Real have not shown the same attacking flair. Along with the El Clasico loss, they were beaten by Sevilla and had a fortunate 1-0 over Paris St Germain, where Ronaldo did not touch the ball inside the opposition area.
The Madrid press have criticised the team’s lack of creativity and it explains why there were still whistles at the Bernabeu on Tuesday, but Ronaldo came out in support of Benitez.
“I didn’t realise (about the whistles). I don’t know why there is a problem, it is up to the fans to respond how they want but the coach is doing a good job and is still adapting to Real Madrid,” he told reporters.
“You have to give him time and in my opinion he is doing well.
“It is normal at a club like this that you are criticised when things are not going well but we are improving.”
Real came in for ridicule last week after being eliminated from the domestic cup tournament for fielding the ineligible Denis Cheryshev against Cadiz.
In La Liga, they have won their last two games and reduced the gap behind leaders Barcelona to four points but face a tricky away match against Villarreal on Sunday.
Ronaldo also played down rumours of a rift with Benitez and said that he was happy at the club.
“It is all speculation, it happens each year and people are used to hearing this kind of thing but the club has helped me a lot,” Ronaldo said.
“I have a good relationship with him (Benitez) and it is the same with all the players.
“I have a contract with Madrid and I will stay.”