Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos We must stick together after latest setback
Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos says everyone in the team was annoyed at dropping another two points in Saturday’s 2-2 La Liga draw at Levante, however now is not the time to single out any individuals.
The latest setback in Madrid’s troubled 2017-18 saw Zinedine Zidane’s team twice take the lead at relegation threatened Levante through Ramos’ header and Isco’s fines strike, but twice give up equalisers against a side that had only scored once in open play in their previous nine La Liga games.
Los Blancos remain in fourth place in the table, with Zidane afterwards lamenting how his team had appeared to have regained form in last weekend’s 4-1 win at Valencia, but had worryingly slipped up again just 10 days before their Champions League round of 16 clash with Paris Saint-Germain.
Speaking in the mixed zone at the Ciutat de Levante stadium the Madrid skipper said his team should have been able to manage the game much better when they were ahead, and that similar mistakes against PSG could end their European hopes.
“Some of us were annoyed in the final stages as we did not know how to manage the result,” Ramos said. “In general it annoys all of us, I do not want to say I am more annoyed than anyone else. When you do the most difficult, get back in front, you must use your experience, try to waste time, not let them play. [But then] they equalise with just a few minutes left, and you don’t get the three points. In the Champions League one mistake can be fatal.”
Ramos himself was caught out in the lead-up to Levante’s first goal, scored by young striker Emmanuel Boateng on the counter-attack just before half-time, while the experienced defender also appeared out of position when Italian veteran Giampaolo Pazzini again evened things up late in the second half.
“I am the first one to show my face [in the media],” he said when asked about his own angry on-pitch reaction while Levante celebrated their second equaliser. “We must stick together. People will look for guilty parties, but we do not like to point to any individuals. We accept the situation, and must turn it around in the Champions League.”
Madrid have now conceded 10 goals in their last six La Liga games, while the team have also had well publicised problems in attack all through 2017-18. Asked what the team’s main problem was, Ramos admitted there was not just one thing going wrong.
“If we knew that we would have fixed it already,” he said. “We must be closer together, not leave so much space and be more of a block. We should not point to any line in the team.”
Speaking on BeINsports just after the final whistle, Madrid midfielder Casemiro had lamented two mistakes which had undone all the good work the team had put in over the rest of the 90 minutes.
“We were playing well, controlling the game, but two mistakes from us, two goals conceded,” Casemiro said. “That is football. If you do that at the back, the other team can do you damage. La Liga is very important for us to pick up confidence, ahead of the PSG game. We are playing well, improving. We did many good things today, but we cannot make errors like that at the back against PSG.”
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan