Zinedine Zidane apologised for Real Madrid’s performance in a shock defeat by struggling Rayo Vallecano after admitting it had made him angry.
Real slipped to a 1-0 defeat at the Campo de Futbol de Vallecas courtesy of Adrian Embarba’s 23rd-minute penalty, which had been awarded on the evidence of a VAR review.
But they created little as the remote chances of edging past arch-rivals Atletico Madrid into second place in the LaLiga table were effectively dashed, and Zidane was pulling no punches afterwards.
He said at his post-match press conference: “We failed to score, but that wasn’t the only thing. We didn’t produce anything in any department from start to finish.
“Sometimes it’s impossible to score, but you still manage to create chances, but tonight we just didn’t perform.
“We can only but feel angry and I’m angry. We gave a poor account of ourselves and I’m responsible for this, it’s not just the players. We’ve got to apologise for our performance.
“Everything was lacking tonight, the attitude and everything else. We didn’t show any commitment in any department, not in the individual battles or when it came to running.
“The opposition covered more ground than us, but we didn’t do any of the things that we should have done out there.
“I’ll always back my players, but that’s the reality tonight and we just can’t go out and perform like that.
“I’m responsible because I’m the one that picks the team and prepares the side. Tonight we’ve done totally the opposite, and I’ve played my part in that.”
Asked if the performance had made him regret his return to the Bernabeu Stadium, where he enjoyed such success during his first spell at the helm, he replied: “No, not at all, quite the opposite.
“I’m here and I had to experience this too. It’s a critical and difficult time, but we just can’t play like that.”
If Real have only pride for which to play in their final three games, Rayo have rekindled their survival hopes, although they remain six points adrift of safety despite their heroics on Sunday evening.
Match-winner Embarba told LaLiga TV: “Obviously we are fighting to survive. They’re a great team, Real Madrid, but they had nothing to play for and I think that’s what made the difference, the need we had to win, the necessity we felt.
“We put pressure on them from the very first minute, I think we worked harder than they did and that’s why we got the three points.
“We’ve got three games, three direct rivals. More than three points, they’re games in which six points are at play. We have to hold on to that.
“We have to win the nine points we have got left to play for.”