(Reuters) - Real Madrid struggled for long spells in their 1-0 win over Paris Saint Germain and there were whistles from the Bernabeu crowd but coach Rafa Benitez said the most important thing was reaching the Champions League last 16.
Benitez’s side are still unbeaten this season in all competitions but they rode their luck against PSG who dominated especially in the first half and Real scored through Nacho Fernandez from one of their few chances after 35 minutes.
“We have played against a strong side in PSG and I am happy because we have qualified which is what is important,” Benitez told reporters.
“We won, we were able to battle and we are now first in the group without conceding a goal, which are reasons to be positive against a difficult rival.”
Real handed PSG to their first loss of the season in all competitions and are through to the knockout stage with 10 points from four games, three more than the French side.
Still there were whistles from some fans who were expecting more from the 2014 Champions League winners.
“We must reflect on what we didn’t do well in the first half and a lot of things in defence,” said Benitez.
“In the second half we were better but I think it is important to remember that we have qualified for the next round and we have done so with players out injured.
“If you look at the second half then we had control of the ball. In the first half we were unable to get hold of the ball and this is because we were against a strong side.”
PSG coach Laurent Blanc was left to reflect on a frustrating night where his side went closest to scoring through Adrien Rabiot and Angel Di Maria who both hit the woodwork.
“Real Madrid scored with a half-chance,” he told reporters.
“In a game like this although we didn’t get what we wanted we need to be positive. I heard after the first match (against Real in Paris) criticism that we were not good enough…
“Here we showed desire, we were well-organised, we showed individual skill and demonstrated that we are good enough.”
Reporting by Tim Hanlon in Barcelona, editing by by Ken Ferris