Xabi Alonso on Real Madrid failure: ‘We didn’t have the right intensity’

Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso says Real Madrid have all but been eliminated from the La Liga title race but that 'we have to hope'.

Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso has attacked Real Madrid’s attitude after his team appeared to blow their La Liga title hopes, putting leaders Atletico Madrid in pole position with two games to go.

After Atletico’s defeat at Levante last weekend, third-placed Real could only muster a draw at home to Valencia and then pick up a point at Valladolid on Wednesday, leaving Carlo Ancelotti’s men four points off the pacesetters.

Barcelona, whose championship bid once appeared in tatters, are three points off the lead but could finish first with two wins as they face Atletico in their final match at the Camp Nou.

“We didn’t have the necessary concentration for a game of this importance. After going ahead (through Sergio Ramos) we didn’t have the right intensity and they got a valuable draw,” Alonso told reporters following the Valladolid clash.

“I hope this doesn’t happen again because it was not the sort of game where we can afford to be relaxed. The league is practically over for us as we need some unlikely results to happen but we have to hope.

“Obviously at this stage of the season you have to put up with injuries,” said Alonso ahead of Sunday’s trip to Celta Vigo.

“We had a number of problems but with those who were out on the pitch we had sufficient to win.”

Real await to hear how serious an injury Cristiano Ronaldo suffered after he limped off inside 10 minutes.

The Portugal forward’s participation in the Champions League final against Atletico at the end of the month is one of the club’s main worries now.

Alonso says the players will need to find the right focus when they meet Atletico.

“It is something we can’t repeat in Lisbon,” he explained. “La Liga is very difficult for us now but we have to have the right concentration in what will be a one-off game.”

Barcelona visit Elche on Sunday while Atletico entertain Malaga.

“I still think the defeat for us the other day was the best thing that could have happened to us,” said Atletico coach Diego Simeone.

“We were all down after the Levante game ... but the team is in good shape. Now we need to respond with facts not words.

“We need to approach the Malaga game like a final, not allow any fear but accept the responsibility. The right psychology is what is needed now from the players to keep driving forward,” added Simeone.

“We are showing that by working hard we can compete well and a lot of teams can identify with us. There are a lot of fans of Madrid and Barcelona that congratulate me for what we are doing and that makes me proud.”

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Published: May 8, 2014 04:00 AM


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