Real's Mourinho turns to Benzema against Auxerre
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has looked to Karim Benzema as the man to help the Spanish giants solve their goalscoring problems, confirming the France striker will start the Champions League encounter with Auxerre.
Madrid have only netted eight times in six competitive matches this season despite creating numerous chances and Mourinho admitted after Saturday's goalless draw at Levante his team's poor form in front of goal was a concern for him.
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 Benzema, who last made the first XI against Osasuna a fortnight ago, will get the chance to shine against his countrymen.
''Benzema is working well. It's time to give him more confidence. He will start tomorrow,'' said Mourinho, who is also confident his side will soon be taking full toll of the chances they have been creating.
''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 the match with Auxerre, where Madrid will look to build on their 2-0 win over Ajax in their opening Group G match, the Portuguese was quoted as saying on his club's 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 against 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 tonight's 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. 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,'' said Mourinho. ''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.''