Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo had a penalty appeal turned down in the first half against Sporting GijonReuters

Real Madrid boss Rafael Benitez said he was "optimistic" despite his first competitive match in charge of the club ending in a disappointing goalless draw at newly-promoted Sporting Gijon.

Real had 27 attempts on goal at El Molinon but failed to create too many clear-cut chances, as a stubborn and well-organised Sporting side held on for a valuable point.

The Spanish giants have now failed to score in five of the nine matches they have played under Benitez, including pre-season friendlies, and the former Napoli boss admitted that Real's star-studded attack lacked composure in the final third.

"We lacked precision in the final pass and accuracy in the shots on goal," Benitez was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

"In general, we lost the ball too much in the first half and gave them a lot of opportunities to counter-attack.

"In the second half, we had more control, more possession, more danger but without that final pass to leave you with a clear chance at goal.

"We will continue to tweak and improve things like the physical condition, the precision and the co-ordination between the players and in that sense I remain optimistic," the ex-Liverpool and Chelsea manager added.

'Couldn't kill the game'

Real captain Sergio Ramos was also critical of the first-half performance, saying it "wasn't good at all".

"We have to analyse it and continue improving. We would have liked to start with three points," AFP quoted him as saying.

"It is never good not to win. Sporting pressed high, especially in the first half. In the second we had more control and we couldn't kill the game with the chances."

The draw leaves Real playing catch up with Barcelona, who beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0 in their opening match.