Rafa Benitez says he is happy with the win over Las Palmas but knows the players will need to keep up their intensity over 90 minutes when they face tougher tests in the coming weeks.
Los Blancos raced into an early two-goal lead at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday afternoon before the visitors pulled a goal back. The 10-time Champions League winners added a third to put the game beyond doubt but they missed a host of chances and let their intensity drop in the second half.
With games against PSG, Sevilla and Barcelona coming up, Benitez told reporters he wants to see his team switched on for the whole game.
“We played well in the first half, we got off to a sensational start. That kind of early lead subconsciously puts you at ease. We talked about maintaining that intensity and scoring another goal, but that’s not how things played out. We weren’t able to build on that good start to the first half,” he commented.
With Kiko Casilla and Borja Mayoral making their competitive debuts for the club and some of the fringe players also getting minutes – such as Jese, Lucas and Casemiro – Benitez once again hailed the depth of his squad.
“I’ve told that players that these are the matches they have to make the most of. I liked seeing Llorente play and do well, and it was great for Borja and Casilla to make their competitive debuts. Jesé, Casemiro, Lucas… They’re all making the most of their minutes. They’re putting points on the board for us and helping us maintain a competitive level in order for the team to continue getting stronger,” he stated.