Starting berth for Benzema
Karim Benzema will start in Real Madrid's Champions League tie with Auxerre, Jose Mourinho has confirmed.
By Elliot Ball
Last Updated: 27/09/10 11:00pm
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema will start in Tuesday's UEFA Champions League clash with Auxerre, Jose Mourinho has confirmed.
The former Lyon striker will get his first chance to shine under the recently appointed Madrid manager on Europe's biggest stage when they take on French opposition at the Abbe-Deschamps.
Mourinho has started with the same attacking quartet of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain, Angel Di Maria and Mesut Ozil for the last four matches but will shake things up for the trip to face Group G rivals Auxerre.
Benzema will be entrusted to score the goals midweek with the former Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan chief confessing his side's poor form in the attacking third - just eight goals in six games - has become a concern,
But Mourinho is confident his side will soon be taking full toll of the chances they have been creating and is pinning his hopes on the French international to help solve the Spanish superpowers' goalscoring problems.
The Portuguese boss said: "Benzema is working well. It's time to give him more confidence. He will start tomorrow.
"Building a team has many stages and my team is doing well in every aspect, but it isn't scoring goals, or at least it isn't scoring enough for the chances it gets. The goals will come, there's no problem."
Regarding tomorrow's match with Auxerre, where Madrid will look to build on their 2-0 win over Ajax in their opening Group G match, the Portuguese boss told the club's official website: "We have three points and we want to try and continue on from the positive start that we had against Ajax.
"Real Madrid are in a difficult group. There are teams in the other groups who more typical of the UEFA Cup than the Champions League, but we haven't had this luck.
"Between Ajax, AC Milan and Real Madrid they have won 20 European Cups. And Auxerre are a representative of French football, which is always very strong.
"We want points. If they are three points, great, that's what we're here for. But in this competition all the points are positive."
Mourinho was also quizzed on his decision to leave Pedro Leon out of his squad for the trip to France.
Leon impressed as a second-half substitute in the goalless draw with Levante and Spanish media had speculated the summer signing from Getafe could start against Auxerre.
The 23-year-old did not even make the 20-man travelling party, though, leading to several questions during the pre-match press conference - something Mourinho took a dim view of.
Clearly unimpressed at being pushed on the exclusion of Leon, Mourinho answered a third and final question on the subject before promptly leaving the press conference.
"I don't have to justify his absence. If the president (Florentino Perez) asks me, I'll tell him, but he hasn't asked me," said Mourinho.
"You talk of Pedro Leon as if he was Zidane or Maradona or Di Stefano, he's a player who not long ago was playing at Getafe.
"He's not called up for one game and it seems like you are talking about a great player. When he works how I want him to, he will play, and when he doesn't, it will be harder for him to play.
"I've already said Benzema will play, why not ask me what other 10 will play alongside him? That should be your first question but you ask about Pedro Leon."