Much Changed Real Madrid Stumble Against Numancia Reach King's Cup Quarters

Carla Harmon
January 13, 2018

Real manager Zinedine Zidane had downplayed criticism this week about the state of the club, which entered the fixture 16 points behind rivals Barcelona in the La Liga table, and emphasized the importance of remaining optimistic during the second half of the term.

However, those that did show up weren't slow to show their discontent with the European champions.

Villarreal resisted more second half pressure, and produced a swift counter-attack towards the end, which resulted in a Fornals clipping the ball beyond Los Blancos stopper Keylor Navas to silence the Madrid crowd and give his team a memorable win. Ronaldo had 11 shots at goal (just four on target) and really should have scored at least once.

After the break, Villarreal nearly netted themselves, but Denis Cheryshev - formerly of Real Madrid - dragged his shot wide of the post. "We did everything we could, we had plenty of chances, but the ball just didn't go in".

It was Madrid's third home loss this season. Zidane replaced Francisco Isco and Gareth Bale with Lucas Vasquez and Marco Asensio, who failed to improve their team.

But the team have struggled this season, despite winning the UEFA Super Cup, the Club World Cup and the Spanish Super Cup.

He did get a reaction on a performance level with Madrid far more intense and creative than the side that slumbered for a 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo last weekend. I keep thinking about it because there are many points left, but logically every time we do not win the chances are much lower.

At Saturday's postgame news conference, Zidane kept repeating the phrases "the ball did just not want to go in" and "I can not explain it".

"Things can change but I think it's best to change things in June rather than now".

"We have to be smart in our judgment because they are the same players, the same trainer and the same philosophy", he added. But I have my squad, I have good players and I don't see anyone at the moment who can improve that. Whether the always ruthless Perez decides to make a change ahead of the PSG game in a month's time could now depend on the upcoming Copa del Rey quarterfinal against Leganes and Real's next two La Liga games, at home to Deportivo La Coruna and away at Valencia.

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