Real Madrid sporting director Jorge Valdano has admitted that being asked to play three games in six days had an adverse affect on the performance of the team during their 3-0 defeat of Espanyol at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema, each of whom netted their first league strikes of the season, handed los Blancos the win, but fails to tell the full story of a match where the visitors had clear cut opportunities.
The referee also dismissed three players, Pepe for the home side and Ernesto Galan and Juan Forlin for los Periquitos, and in the end Valdano was content to witness his team going top of the table.
He told journalists afterwards: “It’s a great victory, even though we have had phases of the game where it has been difficult, but the players have managed to overcome it. We have had three games in six days and that demand and effort has taken our freshness. In the next game we will be in better condition.”
Valdano also took time to praise Ronaldo for breaking his season duck from the penalty spot, and also Benzema’s composure at coming off the bench to add gloss to the victory.
He continued: “[Ronaldo’s] performance was very complete. He has featured in every dangerous play and has proved he has a great personality.
“Benzema is an interesting player who also needs to boost his confidence. He is a young boy that needed to adapt, and he has much talent.”