Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said his side did not view Monday's 1-1 draw at home to Real Sociedad as a missed opportunity to get back into the title race and called for calm ahead of next Sunday's clash at leaders Atletico Madrid.
Real Madrid would have gone into the derby with the chance to move level on points with Atletico had they beaten Sociedad but in the end only managed a draw after Vinicius Jr snatched a late equaliser to cancel out Portu's opening goal.
"We have to stay calm. We played well and created three or four clear chances but were up against a side that also created chances. Now we need to be patient, keep our cool and rest," the Frenchman told reporters.
Sterling may be denied Real Madrid move as he prepares for exit - Paper Round
"We deserved much more when you look at all the opportunities we created. We dominated the game, but then there have been games where we won but didn't deserve to. That's football."
The draw interrupted a five-game winning streak in all competitions but Zidane said the result would not affect preparations for visit to Atletico, who hold a five-point lead over Real and second-placed Barca with a game in hand.
Vinicius Junior celebrates scoring for Real Madrid
Image credit: Getty Images
"This doesn't condition the way we're feeling about the derby at all. We'll still go there with the aim of playing a great game," the Frenchman said.
"Every team is dropping points and we know we have to keep picking up as many as we can and that's what we're going to do. There's still a long way to go."
Real Madrid's injury crisis is slowly beginning to ease and they welcomed back Federico Valverde and Rodrygo from the bench against Sociedad after lengthy spells out.
Zidane added he was hopeful top scorer Karim Benzema would make it back from a thigh injury to face Atletico.
DOES ANYONE WANT TO WIN LA LIGA THIS SEASON?
This was a chance for Real Madrid to truly apply pressure on Atletico Madrid for the first time this season. A win would have seen them stay within three points of their rivals ahead of the Madrid derby on Sunday, but they couldn’t grasp that opportunity. Factor in Atleti’s stuttering form of late and Barcelona’s failure to achieve any sort of consistency, it seems nobody in Spain wants to win La Liga this season.
The future of El Clasico? It’s in the midfield
Haaland demands £30m-per-year wages as clubs prepare summer bids - Paper Round