Rafa Benitez concerned by Real Madrid 'mistakes' in win over Granada

Real Madrid coach Rafa Benitez said his team still had room for improvement after Saturday's unconvincing 1-0 win at home to Granada put them top of the early La Liga table.

The game was billed as a likely record-breaking occasion for Cristiano Ronaldo, but for the Portuguese had an off-day as Real's 1-0 victory was clinched by Karim Benzema's header.

Granada were beaten 9-1 on their last visit to the Bernabeu in April, but had a goal disallowed in the first half and replays showed Isco was offside in the build-up to Madrid's winner.

Benitez told his postmatch news conference that he had expected a difficult game -- and his prediction had come true.

"We knew before the game it could be a tough match -- they are an organised team who break well," he said.

"And it was like that. We gave away possession, allowing them to counter, did not take our chances. Later we had more control, more chances and a better feeling for the game."

Madrid were missing injured attackers Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez, and Benitez said that had disrupted the fluidity of recent matches.

"We needed to move the ball quicker, and more accurately," he added. "It was tough for us to understand what the game needed. In other games we have scored goals quickly, but today Granada did very well."

Granada coach Ramon Sandoval said his players had felt disrespected by buildup to the game on the official Madrid website, but Benitez denied they had underestimated their opponents.

"Madrid did not do that. I had talked of Granada's potential and quality," he said. "They played a good game, but we scored the goal that won the game."

Ronaldo had eight shots during the game, including some free-kicks in promising territory, but did not really trouble visiting goalkeeper Andres Fernandez.

But Benitez said: "We practice free kicks sometimes, and Ronaldo scores many goals. We must keep giving him confidence to take them. Bale and James can also take them, but they were not here today. We have a lot of faith in him [Ronaldo]."

Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas was one of his team's best players, making two superb sprawling saves, and the Costa Rica international and his defence have now started the season with a club record five consecutive clean sheets.

"We can still improve by not giving opponents two or three chances," Benitez said. "We want it to be less.

"But Keylor has then solved the problems we have had. It's not easy to break records in any team, and even harder at Real Madrid. This shows everyone is together, doing things well. As coach I am very happy."

There were some whistles from the demanding Bernabeu crowd at the end, but the coach said: "I go to dressing room happy with the attitude of the team -- we won the game.

"That is a positive position to be in. We know we have to play well, and win games, but when games do not go as well as you want, to get three points and see effort from the players is pretty positive."