Queiroz defends Ronaldo decision
By Mark Kendall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Real were indebted to a late Zinedine Zidane header which rescued all three points nine minutes from time, but Queiroz remained unrepentant about his team selection despite his side's struggles.
The Real chief pointed to a hectic forthcoming schedule, and last week's international fixtures as the motives for his decisions, and insisted it was a good time to hand opportunities to youngsters like Javier Portillo and Fernandez Borja.
"Leaving Ronaldo out? As everyone knows, we are beginning a cycle of many games this month," he explained.
"With all the travelling involved with the international matches, and the tension of the games for both Spain and Brazil, this was a game to give opportunities to other players.
"On Tuesday we play Marseille and this month is full of games for us.
"For that reason I made the changes in the team line-up."
Queiroz went on to lavish praise on both Borja and Portillo for their displays, but also found time to commend Albacete who pushed his troops so close.
"Borja fitted in very well, I liked his character, his tranquility, it's not easy to play from the start but he played with a lot of calmness and maintained his form well.
"I liked him very much, and also Portillo too.
"Albacete, as we expected, were a motivated team, with a very compact defensive system who played well on the counter attack."
For his part, Portillo admitted he had relished his first team run-out, but conceded he was slightly disappointed not to have found the back of the net.
"It's good to have opportunities from the start but you must not forget I was replacing one of the best strikers in the world," stated the 21-year-old.
"I could not score although I did not have many opportunities, but despite that I will sleep well because the team is top of the league.
"This weekend has been beneficial for us because of the failures of Valencia and Depor, and we will now end the week as league leaders."