Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez has rubbished reports in the Spanish press claiming his squad had ordered him to forget about defence in Saturday's El Clasico clash with Barcelona. The former Chelsea and Liverpool boss did admit though that the only way to beat the Champions League winners is by being bold, and he openly named his side as the favourites to win.
The Spanish manager has been under huge scrutiny since his arrival at the Santiago Bernabeu due to his conservative approach to the game. Radio Marca recently reported the Real squad is unhappy with his methods, with leading figures meeting with the manager to ask him to change his tactics ahead of the season's first El Clasico.
Asked about that in the press conference ahead of the game, Benitez said as quoted by AS: "I have a lot of respect for journalists and for your profession. It's not easy to find information; I'd say to every Madrid fan that that information is false. There wasn't a meeting or anything with the players."
When another journalist insisted that the information was true, he replied: "I repeat, the information is false. I have been managing teams for many years and I will keep doing the same thing.
"I respect people's opinions a lot, but the most attacking team is the one that takes most shots and scores the most goals. If you look at Madrid, that's the case. We'll try to be more effective.
"Madrid have a style of playing that is to go to win scoring more goals and we do that independent of who we face. We're not focused on the rival, we try to do things the way we need to do them."
Barcelona come to the game top of La Liga, after Real Madrid lost to Sevilla prior to the international break. The Catalans have confirmed Lionel Messi has recovered from injury, although it is uncertain whether the Argentine will start.
Despite all this, Benitez still feels the home side are favourites to triumph. He said: We're playing in our stadium, with our fans and I think Madrid are favourites. It'll be a tough game, but a good one for the fans."
The Spanish manager also confirmed he expects to have both Karim Benzema and Keylor Navas available for the game, despite the duo having missed training sessions during the week.