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Nov 9, 2012

Karim Benzema seeks more playing time

With Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain now scheduled to miss a month with a thigh injury, Karim Benzema said Friday he hopes coach Jose Mourinho will give him more playing time once he recovers from his own hamstring ailment.

"I have wanted to play more. From the beginning of the season I have spent more time on the bench than on the field, but I will continue fighting to get the minutes they give me," Benzema told L'Equipe Friday.

Benzema currently shares the starting role in attack with Higuain at Real Madrid, but neither is likely to play this weekend at Levante.

Both players will miss their respective national team matches next week due to the injuries. French coach Didier Deschamps confirmed Thursday that Benzema will sit for the Nov. 14 World Cup qualifying match vs. Italy while Higuain is likely to miss Argentina's friendlies vs. Saudi Arabia (Nov. 14) and Brazil (Nov. 21).

Benzema has shown only flashes of his potential since moving to the Bernabeu from Lyon in July 2009, but said he doesn't blame Mourinho for the lack of playing time.

"He's always behind me and never lets me give up," Benzema told L'Equipe. "When things go well, he tells me regularly and when you are not doing so well he tells me it's okay. It's all to keep me up to a high standard."

Benzema scored 21 goals in Madrid's run to the La Liga title last season but has managed just one so far this season.

He has also failed to score on his last nine France appearances.

"I am not worried because I have made decisive passes," the 24-year-old said. "If you want, I could stop providing assists, play on my own in the box and score goals. I could do that but it would be detrimental to the team."

Higuain injured his right hamstring 15 into Real's 2-2 draw with Borussia Dortmund after sprinting and colliding with Borussia's goalkeeper. Mourinho saw Higuain limping and had Jose Maria Callejon warm up on the sidelines at minute 25, but did not sub Higuain out until the end of the first half.

Information from Press Association was used in this report.

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