Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane lamented his side “fell apart” to suffer a shocking 4-1 loss at Valencia in LaLiga on Sunday with the Frenchman taking full responsibility for the heavy defeat.
Zidane – who took the Los Blancos to the LaLiga league titleship last season – was visibly perplexed by his team’s display after a strong start at the Mestalla after supremo Karim Benzema fired them ahead in the 23rd minute, but the first of three damaging penalties enabled Valencia to level and they never looked back after that.
“We started the first half-hour well,” Zidane told reporters.
“After the goal we fell apart and changed the dynamics. Everything happened to us – three penalties, an own goal. It is difficult to understand.”
Lucas Vazquez was the first to concede a spot-kick, which Carlos Soler made sure of at the second attempt after VAR ordering a retake.
Raphael Varane then chipped the ball past Thibaut Courtois at the end of the first 45 minutes to add to the defending champions’ misery before things got even worse for the Los Blancos after the break.
Second half saw Marcelo and Sergio Ramos giving away penalties, which Soler subsequently dispatched to ensure he pocketed the match ball, and Valencia had the satisfaction of inflicting the joint-biggest defeat of Zidane’s managerial career with Madrid.
“There is no justification or excuses,” the 48-year-old added.
“I don’t think Valencia has been tactically better than us. The only thing is that we started well and everything changed after the goal.
“This is difficult to understand but yes, the one most responsible is me. We must find solutions after the goal they scored.”
Ex-Watford boss Javi Gracia, having hardly any money to spend this summer turned instead to the club’s academy, insisting the victory was for everyone working at the Mestalla.
He told Plaza Deportiva: “I feel very happy, but above all for my players for what they have gone through without reward.
“Winning today in such a forceful way reinforces us all, the coach as well.
“I am happy, yes, for offering this victory to so many people who work at the club, to the veterans who come to give encouragement. These things are not forgotten and I am excited to share these three points with them.”
Valencia’s impressive win ended a four-match winless streak to see them ascend to ninth in the table while Madrid are in fourth position, four off leaders Real Sociedad.