Real Madrid lost 1-0 at home to Villarreal as pressure mounted on coach Zinedine Zidane.
A late Pablo Fornals goal condemned Real to a defeat that leaves them in fourth place, 16 points behind leaders Barcelona with the same number of games played.
As the home side poured forward in search of a winner, they were caught on the break; Fornals chipping in the rebound after Keylor Navas saved from Eres Unal.
Despite racking up 26 shots, Real were well below their best and look a shadow of the side that won a Liga/Champions League double last season.
Real have not won a Liga match in over a month and look more likely to drop out of the Champions League places than get back into the title race.
As far as Zinedine Zidane is concerned, things are not as bad as they look for Real Madrid.
Zidane downplayed Madrid’s recent setbacks, blaming critics for exaggerating the team’s struggles and wanting to create turmoil at the club.
“I’m tired of hearing that Madrid is struggling,” Zidane said. “It’s easy to say that everything is wrong, but it’s not all bad here. It’s pretty to talk negatively about Real Madrid, it sells more.”
Madrid has been under increased pressure since it lost to Barcelona 3-0 at home in its last game of 2017. It started the year by defeating second-division club Numancia 3-0 in the Copa del Rey, but then was held by Celta Vigo to 2-2 in the Spanish league and couldn’t manage more than another 2-2 against Numancia in the return leg of the Copa at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.