Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane called Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat at Espanyol “painful” but “undeserved.
A mix-and-match Madrid lineup with Cristiano Ronaldo among those rested could have gone behind midway through the first half when Espanyol forward Gerard Moreno had a goal debatably ruled out for offside,
The game seemed headed for stalemate until the 93rd minute when Moreno’s well-hit shot from 15 yards flew past Navas to condemn Zidane’s side to a disappointing loss.
And Zidane told the postmatch news conference that his team might have gone ahead before half-time, but paid in the end for a below-par second-half showing.
“We did not deserve to win, but not to lose either,” Zidane said. “We began very well in the first half, had chances to score, but didn’t take them. The second half was worse, we did not find our play, the things that lately we have been doing well.
“It is a setback, but in the end we did not deserve this defeat. Espanyol had very few chances, but this is football, it’s a painful defeat, and I am sorry for the players as it is a bad result.”
“After five games when we played well and got good results, it did not happen today, above all the second half,” Zidane said. “If we had scored in the first half when playing well, it would have been different. But no, this was a defeat, and difficult to take.”