MADRID, January 5 – Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti insists his side’s confidence will not be shaken after Valencia came from behind to end the European champions’ 22-game winning streak on Sunday with a 2-1 win at Mestalla.
Defeat leaves Los Blancos just a point ahead of title rivals Barcelona and Atletico Madrid with a visit to Atletico in the Copa del Rey to come on Wednesday.
Cristiano Ronaldo had fired the visitors into an early lead from the penalty spot, but Ancelotti was left to bemoan key missed chances by the Portuguese and Gareth Bale either side of Antonio Barragan’s equaliser for Valencia as Nicolas Otamendi headed home the winner 25 minutes from time.
“I don’t think we deserved to lose because we just didn’t have the luck to score when we had the chances to make it 2-0, then to go ahead 2-1 and finally at the end when we had many chances to make it 2-2,” said the Italian.
“There were important points of the match where we didn’t take our chances, but as I’ve said in football this happens. You can’t always be efficient up front.
“I think we worked hard and had chances. We were always dangerous but we didn’t score.
“I don’t think it will affect the team. As I said it has happened after 22 victories. The season is very long and we are well-positioned in La Liga and have a lot of competitions. This won’t affect us because we know all the things we have done well until now.”
Ancelotti surprisingly withdrew the star trio of Bale, James Rodriguez and Karim Benzema in the search for an equaliser in the second-half.
However, the 55-year-old denied he is concerned about the physical condition of his squad ahead of a demanding January schedule which could see Real face Atletico and Barca four times in the Cup, as well as Liga encounters with Espanyol, Getafe, Cordoba and Real Sociedad.
“We knew what the schedule would be and that Valencia are a strong team, above all this year. We prepared well for the game and we played well. We congratulate Valencia, who played well, and now we have to prepare for the next game.
“For the game on Wednesday we need to think how to play better to win the game. I think physically the team showed it is in good shape, especially in the final part of the game.”
Sergio Ramos also pleaded for calm after a glorious run and end to 2014 which saw Madrid win four trophies in the same year for the first time.
“I’m hurt by the loss of three points and the end of the run, but there is a long way to go in the league. We didn’t brag about our victories before the match nor will we throw the towel in on La Liga now.
“If anything has characterised this group it is the humility and work and this will not change that. It will make us stronger. We will continue to grow as a team for sure.”