Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti complained his players had lacked zip and shooting accuracy after the La Liga leaders let slip a one-goal advantage and were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Villarreal on Sunday.The stalemate at the Bernabeu, when Cristiano Ronaldo’s 52nd-minute penalty was cancelled out by a fine Gerard Moreno strike in the 64th, left Real two points clear of second-placed Barcelona, who host their great rivals in three weeks, with 13 games left.
It was the first game the European champions have failed to win at home in La Liga since they were beaten 2-1 by Atletico Madrid in September and was their first draw in Spain’s top flight this season.
“In the first half, our rhythm was very low,” Ancelotti told a news conference.
“We put in a lot of crosses because the ball circulation was slow,” added the Italian.
“The rhythm changed in the second half but we weren’t efficient with the chances we created.
“We didn’t have good fortune with our efforts on goal. We had 24 shots and only seven were on target.”
Sunday’s stalemate was Real’s latest stumble since the turn of the year after they set a Spanish record of 22 consecutive victories in all competitions at the end of 2014.
They were beaten 2-1 at Valencia in La Liga, knocked out of the King’s Cup by Atletico and suffered a humiliating 4-0 reverse at their city neighbours in the league last month.
The Real faithful made their anger clear when they whistled Ancelotti in a subsequent La Liga game at home to Deportivo La Coruna and they vented their ire again on Sunday when he took off fan favourite Isco in the second half.
“A coach is on the pitch and makes changes because he believes it’s best for the team,” Ancelotti said.
“If the fans don’t understand it I am sorry but I made the decision and made the change to give the team more balance.”
Before their trip to the Nou Camp, Real face a potentially tricky La Liga clash at Athletic Bilbao and take a 2-0 lead into their Champions League last 16, second leg at home to Bundesliga side Schalke 04 on March 10.