La Liga news

Karanka backs Benzema and Higuain

March 11, 2013
By Dermot Corrigan, Spain Correspondent

Real Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka says he is not worried about currently misfiring strikers Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema, as he feels so long as they keep making chances and getting into position the goals will eventually come.

Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema
PA PhotosGonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema: Have recently struggled for goals

• Blog: Real battle past Celta

Higuain and Benzema were again off target during Saturday's 2-1 La Liga win at Celta Vigo, when Cristiano Ronaldo's poacher's effort and penalty after Kaka was upended by home goalkeeper Javi Varas was needed to see off the relegation-threatened Galicians. Ronaldo now has 24 Primera Division goals this season, well ahead of Higuain [nine] and Benzema [seven] in Madrid's charts.

Jose Mourinho's assistant, Karanka, told reporters at Balaidos after the game that he would be more concerned if Madrid were not creating enough chances, but that was not the case.

"Forwards, as they always say, and it is the truth, go through spells of form," he said. "It might seem that they are not being accurate enough, but the important thing is creating the chances. Last year the chances were going in and this year they are not going in as easily. But if we keep making chances they will start scoring and we will win matches more comfortably."

Celta played a full part in a very open game, with striker Iago Aspas scoring a deflected equaliser soon after Ronaldo's first goal, and substitute Park Chu Young heading off the cross bar in the closing stages. In a frantic ending to the match Higuain had previously shot wide from six yards after a rapid counter involving Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil had looked certain to put the game beyond doubt.

Karanka admitted his side had not been at their best in the first half, but had created enough opportunities to win the game comfortably after that.

"We played well enough to have won comfortably," he said. "In the first 20 minutes or half an hour, the whole team struggled to get into the match. They played with a high defensive line and caught us offside a few times and we could not find a way through.

"In the last 15 minutes, and for part of the second half, the team controlled the match and we had more chances. The problem is that, perhaps, when we could have killed off the match, the goals did not come. And they have had the opportunity to equalise."