A very sincere Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media after another negative result at San Mamés and he admitted his team, and especially his strikers, just aren't playing well.
First, the Italian coach talked about Real Madrid's poor performance and Athletic's superiority:
I think the game was pretty even. Athletic defended very well and they played the counter once they scored. Our problem was very clear. Our problem is not on the defensive side, but on the attack. We can't find solutions the way we were in past games. It's something we need to fix. We need to be more efficient on the attack.
To that, one reporter asked about the poor connection between Real's midfield and The BBC:
That's right, there's no connection. We're relying too much on individual plays and individual solutions, while we need to do something different. We need more combinations, to play faster, without too much passing. What we're doing right now while we attack is very confusing.
On the purpose of his substitutions, which were pretty much identical to the ones against Villarreal:
First of all, we tried to give some fresher legs to the team. With Jesé, it was to give Bale more freedom on the wing, where he had more spaces, so he could cross more. Lucas Silva went in for Kroos because he was already booked and I didn't want to play with 10. Same thing goes for Illarramendi.
The last couple weeks, Real Madrid has struggled against teams that played twice in a week while Ancelotti's men had two full weeks to prepare for these games. Does Real Madrid have a physical problem?:
I think we pushed real hard during the second half. I insist, I don't think it's a physical issue. We need clearer ideas up front. Clearly, our attack is not working lately.
One reporter asked Carlo if he thought Real Madrid simply gave the first half away and asked him to explain his words on doing some confusing things on offence:
I think the team gave away the entire game, not just the 45 minutes. On the first half, Athletic scored and in the second we just weren't able to tie it. Abou't the confusing things we're doing on the attack, is that we're playing way too slowly and we pass the ball too much. We aren't moving the ball well and fast enough. That's why our strikers don't have any spaces to find solutions.
On Real Madrid possibly lacking attitude and Carlo's responsibility during the last poor results:
It is my responsibility as the coach, yes. A lot of coaches, whenever their team doesn't play well they say "this is not my team". No, this is my team and my team plays very poorly. In this regard, it is my full responsibility, but I'm not going to give up. We know La Liga becomes a lot more complicated now, but it isn't over. We're going to work hard to fix this. With the quality we had, I think we can quickly find a solution. I don't think it's a lack of attitude. For me, the problem is on the attack as I explained before. The players' attitude is good. We do not have an attitude problem, but we do have a technical one.
On possibly replacing one of the members of the BBC:
It's not an individual problem. If we have to value the game of those three players, it clearly wasn't a good one, but we didn't lose because of them. The whole team is responsible for this loss. When we attack, every player needs to do their job, not just our strikers.
After denying a physical or conditioning problem time and time again, are things really under Ancelotti's control?:
In terms of an environment or motivation, everything's under control. We don't really need to find something else. The team is focused on our goals. We just need to fix our issues quickly. It's weird to say Real Madrid have a problem up front after we've scored lots of goals this season, but that's the way it is. We need to play better there.
Finally, Carlo was asked if the problem up front is because the strikers can't find any spaces or because the midfielders just can't connect those final passes or both:
It's a timing problem. Timing between a player getting himself open and then passing it to him. That timing isn't there because we just pass the ball too much. The striker doesn't find the time to get open either. That timing clearly isn't working.