Real Madrid boss Rafael Benitez should not be judged yet, says Terry Gibson
Last Updated: 19/11/15 11:34am
It is too soon to judge Rafael Benitez as Real Madrid manager, according to Sky Sports' Spanish football expert Terry Gibson.
The former Liverpool boss is coming under pressure from the Spanish press ahead of this weekend's Clasico, despite the defeat at Sevilla in their last game being their first in La Liga this season.
Many have accused Benitez of using negative tactics, although Real have outscored Barcelona in the league thus far.
"I don't see any clear evidence of this supposedly defensive system," Gibson said on the La Liga Weekly podcast.
"It's been backed up by them not conceding as many goals, I think they've defended well and been backed up by a goalkeeper who has been fantastic but they're still have the required amount of attempts at goal.
"I don't see any concessions, say in the last game, asking Ronaldo and Bale to do more defensive work."
Benitez has also been without a number of key players for much of the season with Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and James Rodriguez among those to have had spells on the sidelines in the early part of the campaign.
Only once the manager has had time to work with a full complement of players should he be judged, argues Gibson.
"When all the injured players are back, then will be the time to fairly criticise or not criticise Rafa Benitez because they are only a certain amount of things you can criticise a manager for," he explained.
"It can be his style of play, which I don't think is evident yet to be too much different from what we've seen from Real Madrid in recent seasons, his team selection, which has been quite automatic really in terms of the players who have been injured, and players that he signs.
"Now that's never been something at Real Madrid that we can criticise the manager for.
"I think fundamentally it comes down to the team selection. From now on, when the injured players are back, the likes of Karim Benzema, James Rodriguez, then it will be time to assess whether Rafa Benitez is picking the right players, making the right selection, the right style of play for those particular players and for him and his team."
The amount of pressure supposedly on Benitez is nothing new at the Bernabeu but the speed with which he has come under such scrutiny has surprised Gibson and he believes the players have done little to help their manager.
"The pressure is on Rafa Benitez but he's known that from day one, it's not a surprise. The only surprise is how quickly the pressure has been piled onto him," Gibson added.
"There has been far too much come out of that dressing room and I know it what be difficult to keep everything in-house, behind closed doors but it started pre-season when there was a hint of a fall out between Rafa Benitez and Cristiano Ronaldo.
"Sergio Ramos has had a little bit of a moan about the tactics of Benitez after the Atletico Madrid game where he gave away the penalty and Rafa Benitez dared to criticise him when it was two mistakes, Ramos said 'don't ask me, ask the manager about his substitutions.' You don't need those things and they could implode their whole season.
"They have had a good start and until the Sevilla game they had been good. Good results, good performances in the Champions League, they're fully in contention as you'd expect they would be but I always worry and the fear is for Real Madrid, that they mess things up themselves."