Zinedine Zidane apologised and said he wished Real Madrid’s miserable season would end now after they were beaten by 19th-placed Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.
Madrid’s response to Barcelona winning the title on Saturday night was to slip to a 1-0 defeat at Vallecas and fall 18 points behind La Liga’s newly-crowned champions.
Zidane took over knowing Madrid’s title challenge was all-but extinguished but the difference on Barca then was 12 points while catching Atletico Madrid, now nine ahead, seemed achievable.
Adri Embarba’s penalty, given after consultation with VAR, was enough for Rayo, who move to within six points of survival, with three games left to play.
“Today we did nothing,” Zidane said. “From minute one until the end, at all levels. Sometimes you cannot score but today we did not even create chances, did not play at all.”
Asked if he would like the season to end now, Zidane said: “Yes, but we have to play these three games and do something different. We cannot end like this.
“It is about me as well, today what I did in the shape of the team, it didn’t work at all. We must respect football and what this club represents.”
Not since March 31 has anyone except Karim Benzema, out with a hamstring injury, scored for Madrid, who created precious few chances against a Rayo side that have conceded 62 goals this term. No side in the division has shipped more.
Zidane said last week that the league would be the club’s first priority from August but, even with new signings and fresh motivation, it could prove difficult to flick the switch. Madrid’s winning habit has long-been lost.