Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui believes his team must stay positive despite the frustrations of not being able to beat rivals Atletico in a goalless draw at the Bernabeu.
Earlier in the day, Barcelona – who were stunned at Leganes on Wednesday – could only muster a 1-1 draw at home against Athletic Bilbao, which meant Real had the chance to move ahead at the top of the table.
However, Los Blancos failed to produce a response from the midweek loss at Sevilla, and lacked a cutting edge.
Goalkeepers Thibaut Courtois and Jan Oblak each made one key save in either half as both teams had to make do with a share of the spoils.
‘We didn’t win the game simply because we didn’t manage to score, but overall, I think that we were by far the better side, particularly in the second half, in which we created several chances,’ Lopetegui said at a press conference.
‘After the break, we managed to pen Atletico back into their own half, overcame adversity and delivered a good performance. However, if you don’t score, you don’t win football matches.
‘I take some big positives from tonight’s game. When faced with difficulty, the team stood tall and improved, having had a day’s less rest (to prepare) and with some absentees, and showed character and personality.
‘We played well, but failed to get the goal to make our dominance tell.
‘The goals will come. We’ve had chances and they will come.’
Lopetegui added: ‘La Liga is competitive and long for everyone, and every game is extremely difficult.
‘We don’t focus on the opposition, we know that it’ll be a long road and a difficult one. There’s a long way to go and we have to give our all.’
Gareth Bale was substituted at the break, which could prove another setback for the Real forward, who will be assessed ahead of the Champions League trip to CSKA Moscow.
Lopetegui said: ‘Bale had discomfort in his adductor at half-time and as a precaution he didn’t come out for the second half. We will test him tomorrow and we’ll see.
‘Isco had appendicitis, which is a shame, and we hope that Marcelo is back in a few weeks.
It’s not good that we’ve got injuries and we will look for solutions.’