Carlo Ancelotti has vowed that Real Madrid will not give up on chasing Barcelona to the top of La Liga despite being nine points behind the leaders on Sunday.
Madrid drew with Real Betis on a potentially decisive day in the title race, hours after a 10-man Barcelona were in contention for a 1-0 home win over Valencia.
Los Blancos still have to travel to Barcelona in two weeks, but Opta’s league predictor now gives the defending champions just a 9.8% chance of topping the table.
After seeing his side play their second game in the league, drawing 1-1 with Atlético Madrid last week, Ancelotti agreed that Madrid was out of business.
“It’s not impossible,” he told Movistar when asked if there was any hope of catching Barça. “It will be very difficult, very difficult, but we have no doubt that we will fight to the end.
“Of course, these results affect the team. If this is not the case, then you have nowhere to improve.”
Madrid have not won in three games since losing 1-0 to Barcelona in the first leg of Thursday’s Copa del Rey semi-finals.
The European champions have failed to score in their last two games, the same number as in the previous 39 games.
After Real failed to score on target against Barça and in the first half against Betis, Madrid at least improved in the second half as Claudio Bravo made five saves.
“It was a difficult match for us,” added Ancelotti. “We know that we could have played better in terms of offensive efficiency. We had opportunities, but lacked efficiency.
“This is reality. We’ve only scored one goal in the last three games and it’s clear what we’re missing from set pieces. We have the quality to work better.
“We know that we need to improve in this regard. We know that in times like these we have to work better.”
Karim Benzema thought he had given Madrid the lead in the 15th minute, but his free kick was ruled out after a VAR check showed the ball had hit Antonio Rüdiger’s hand.
Madrid have already played six goalless draws with Betis in the league this century – they haven’t done it more often with either side – and this latest stalemate has been particularly costly.
Dani Ceballos, who missed one of the few good chances missed by the guests in the second half, echoed Ancelotti’s opinion that his team should continue to fight.
“There are still games left and we’re not that far [from Barcelona],” he said. “The DNA of this club is to fight to the end. Where there is an opportunity, Madrid will fight.
“Next Saturday we will have a very important game against Espanyol in front of our fans. We also have Barcelona so we have to do our best before the international break.”
Betis failed to record a fourth straight league win for the first time since December 2021, but head coach Manuel Pellegrini was happy to walk away with a point against his former club.
“Winning matches is important, but if you can’t do it, it’s better not to lose,” said Pellegrini, whose team is three points behind fourth-placed Real Sociedad.
“I think it was fair for both teams. There are a lot of teams that are fighting for the top four and others will start to challenge too.”