Rafael Benitez claimed Real Madrid are a work in progress after they disappointingly drew 0-0 at Sporting Gijon in his first competitive fixture in charge.
Gareth Bale, playing in a new central role, and Cristiano Ronaldo both threatened – striker Karim Benzema was absent with a thigh injury – but Real were largely frustrated by the hosts, who largely limited their expensively-assembled opponents to long-range efforts.
Gijon came the closest to scoring when Antonio Sanabria headed against the underside of the Real crossbar.
SEE MORE: Read our La Liga 2015/16 season preview.
“I knew it would be a match where Sporting would push us hard,” Benitez told reporters at the end of his first Primera Division match as Real manager.
“We needed to be fast and accurate but took many shots but without precision. In the first half we gave Sporting options.
“We must improve in that regard. We need to work harder.
“Our reaction in the second half was good. We showed character and personality.
“I’m happy with what I saw in the second half. I remain optimistic.
“Sporting played very well, they were very tidy.”
Sergio Ramos, Real’s leading defender and captain since the summer departure of goalkeeper Iker Casillas to Porto, added: “The first half was not good, but in the second we kept possession and created chances which we just could not put away.
“There’s no need to worry about the lack of scoring. There are goals in this team – we just need to work on it.”
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