GIRONA (Reuters) - Real Madrid midfielder Isco said he and his team mates now need to show what they are made of after the La Liga champions crumbled to a 2-1 defeat by Girona on Sunday, slipping eight points behind Barcelona in the title race.
Isco put Madrid in front in the first half against the run of play at Girona, who are in the top flight for the first time in their 87-year history.
The champions blew their lead after the break, however, conceding two sloppy goals in the space of four minutes from Christhian Stuani and Portu respectively, falling to their second defeat of the campaign.
“When things are going well and we are winning it’s very easy to say we have great team spirit and all that but now is when we really need to show that we are a true team and that we are capable of turning this around,” Isco told reporters.
“We have a very big responsibility from now until the end of the season. It’s clear we cannot continue like this, we are Madrid and we can’t keep dropping points all the time.
“But don’t count us out yet, because we’ve proved many times that Madrid always fights back, and now we have another chance to do that.”
Real are third in the standings on 20 points, four behind second-placed Valencia and eight behind Barca, who have won nine and drawn one of their 10 league games, matching their best ever start to a season.
Zinedine Zidane’s side now turn their attention to a trip to Wembley Stadium on Wednesday to face Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League, where a win will all but seal their place in the last-16 of the competition they won in 2016 and 2017.
“It was a very strange game from our point of view because we were 1-0 up and then we disconnected at the start of the second half and they turned the game on its head,” added Isco.
“We are dropping points where we would not have expected to but now we have a very important game on Wednesday.”
Real midfielder Casemiro gave an even more scathing analysis of the defeat, and refused to point the blame at the referee after replays appeared to show that match winner Portu was offside when he backheeled in Pablo Maffeo’s cross.
“I’m worried about everything, we are very far from our rivals and our objective but we have to keep our heads because this is a complicated, delicate moment for us,” the Brazilian said.
“Now’s not the time for excuses, they scored twice, we didn’t create as many chances as we normally do and we have to congratulate Girona because they played very well.”
Zidane, however, said he was not concerned by the team’s performance.
“It’s just a lack concentration in two plays, nothing else. They’re details, this is football and football is all about details,” the French coach said.
“We can’t be happy after a loss, but today is a bad day, we’ll go home, rest up and recharge our batteries. I have a great group who will be ready for Wednesday’s game.”
Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Christian Radnedge