Karanka: No more slip-ups

Sunday 18th November 2012 11:39

Aitor Karanka: His side cannot afford to let up

Aitor Karanka: His side cannot afford to let up

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Real Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka knows his team cannot afford to make any mistakes as they continued their pursuit of Primera Division leaders Barcelona with a 5-1 home win over Athletic Bilbao.

Jon Aurtenetxe's unfortunate own goal opened the scoring for the champions, but there was no doubt about the other four Real goals which came from Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema, Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira.

Victory saw Jose Mourinho's third-placed side stay within eight points of Barca, and just two adrift of Atletico Madrid, who visit struggling Granada on Sunday.

Karanka accepts his team cannot afford any mishaps if they are to have any chance of retaining the league title.

He said: "We have known for a while that we cannot have any slip-ups and it will be this way for a while. At the end we will see how it pans out. We worry ourselves about winning our matches and we get on with it."

While for once Cristiano Ronaldo did not figure on the scoresheet, Karanka praised the Portuguese's contribution at the end of a week which has seen speculation about his long-term future resurface.

He said: "I don't think Cristiano ever has to justify anything to us. We know him very well and we have spoken of what he is for this team too many times.

"Those of us in there, living with the team, know how important he is.

"He did not score in this match but made some assists. He was very generous.

"When he scores goals it often to win matches, and today he was not there to score but to create them, to move into open spaces."

Benzema also came in for praise, with Karanka highlighting the Frenchman's all-round game.

"We know what he gives us: his passing, movement up front... When he scores, it's perfect.

"But he is a player who connects very well with others, leaving spaces to get the ball, to take a touch and support his team-mates.

"Today he made crosses, shots... We all know how Karim plays."

Of Luka Modric, who arrived in the summer from English Premier League side Tottenham, he added: "Everyone knows the quality he has and with a team like this he is going to get better.

"Today he made a great pass to Karim for the first goal and every day he is getting better."

Explaining the non-appearance of Michael Essien - another summer arrival, from Chelsea - Karanka added he was being allowed to "get over the niggles".

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