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Aug 25, 2014

Ancelotti happy with Benzema, attack

Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti praised Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo's goals after a 2-0 win over Cordoba.

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said he was not looking for any new attacking additions to his squad after Monday's less-than-convincing 2-0 La Liga win over Cordoba at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

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Madrid won through Karim Benzema's first-half header and Cristiano Ronaldo's injury time pile-driver, but struggled for rhythm throughout and heard murmurs and even whistles from an impatient Bernabeu crowd as the newly promoted visitors made a game of it in their first Primera Division outing in 42 years.

The whistles were especially audible when Ancelotti withdrew centre-forward Karim Benzema and sent on midfielder Sami Khedira midway through the second half, with many inside the stadium perhaps questioning whether some of the 80 million euros about to arrive for the sale of Angel Di Maria to Manchester United might be spent on another attacking option.

However, speaking afterwards the Italian coach said he was very happy with the balance of his squad.

"We have players who can play in different positions on the field," Ancelotti said. "Our midfielders and forwards especially, so with this squad we are fine. It is normal that our rhythm dropped a bit at the end. I made some changes to give more vitality to the team, not for any other reason. The three changes were all tactical, to give the team more rhythm."

Karim Benzema celebrates his first-half goal in Real Madrid's La Liga season opening win vs. Cordoba.

Ancelotti claimed to be happy with how the game had gone, while admitting his team had suffered from playing two demanding Supercopa games against Atletico Madrid in the week before the new league season began.

"The reason above all was tiredness," he said. "Playing every two or three days at this time of the season is not easy. That was the reason we suffered a bit, but not too much, as the game was pretty well controlled.

"I did not hear any whistles. I heard that in moment when we were suffering our fans helped us. We are not yet in full physical condition, we need to have more rhythm in our game. But it was important to begin with a win, it all turned out well in the end."

- Report: Real Madrid 2-0 Cordoba
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Ronaldo had another quiet game by his standards and looked to be playing within himself after recent fitness concerns. But then he hammered the ball to the net from 30 yards to secure the three points late on.

"Cristiano is like all of us, he does not yet have top physical condition," Ancelotti said. "Now we need to build up our rhythm. This week will help us with that."

Benzema scored only his second goal in 16 club games, but Ancelotti again defended the France international commending his workrate and unselfish play.

"Karim played very well, when a forward like him scores we are all happy," he said. "But I always appreciate his work, even in games when he does not score."

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