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Notes & Quotes: January 7, 2019

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Postmatch comments from Modric and Ramos followed by some reassurance from Ernesto Valverde

Real Madrid CF v Real Sociedad - La Liga Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Modric describes Real’s struggles as “not normal”

Luka Modric was interviewed after Sunday’s loss to Sociedad and gave some insight into the woes of the club right now.

“[We’re] missing goals and more unity on the field. At home, they’re scoring goals on us and we aren’t scoring many.”

“We have to sit down, talk and to see what is our problem. It’s not normal, it’s not just one time, this has happened many times. You have to find solutions, lots of players are not performing at their best.”

“I have to improve and assume more responsibility. It’s a difficult moment for the club but these things have to unite us more.”

There are two things that Modric has pointed out here that is concerning with the club, aside from their position in the standings and current results.

The first is obviously the issues with goalscoring this season. While they’ve done fine in the Champions League in this regard, they’ve had a hard time in LaLiga in the goals department. While the absence of Ronaldo is obviously glaring, it has also been the inability of the offense to click and score, which leads to Modric’s next point about stars not playing their best.

Modric and Varane were slow out of the gates coming back from the World Cup. The offense has been quite spotty most of this season and have failed to really put up goals. Ramos and Marcelo have struggled with defending as well. On top of all this, they’ve also struggled with lengthy injuries at times to their stars yet again this season, the latest case being Kroos now.

Whether it’s a drastic decision to turn things around in January or just rolling with what they have now until they can address the issues in the summer, it’s quite clear the stars need to step up and things need to change. The good thing is the players, or at least in this case Modric, are starting to recognize their poor form.

Ramos calls refereeing decisions in Sociedad match “scandalous”

Sergio Ramos was also interviewed after the Sociedad match where he took his gripes up with the referee in the match and his decisions.

“The referee played a big role in things. I’ve always defended the VAR system, but it has to be improved because what we’ve seen was scandalous,” Ramos said. He could have awarded the penalty and then consulted the VAR. After seeing the penalty incidents in the dressing room, all we ask for is fairness.”

“There are times when we’re punished for our behavior on the pitch and the referees’ committee should do the same with the officials. The VAR is in place but you’ve got to know how to use it and consult it.”

“We’re motivated and fighting for a LaLiga title that’ll be tough and it’s made all the more difficult when things like this happen. When you’re out there on the pitch it’s so much more difficult because your heart is racing. As the team captain, I always try and help the referees, but tonight’s performance was scandalous.”

“Lucas Vazquez’s sending-off was very harsh. Never before have I seen a player shown a second yellow for something like that, where you’re in the middle of the pitch with three Real Madrid players around you.”

Tensions seem to be quite high regarding the squad and they’re looking for answers. While decisions you view as controversial, in regards to Vazquez’s red card, are certainly frustrating, the refereeing really hasn’t been Real’s problem.

If there’s anything to blame, it’s the players’ performances in most of the league matches this season. As Modric said, they need to sit down and discuss amongst each other what is really the heart of the problem and how they can try and turn it around.

Valverde gives some hope to Real Madrid’s title chances

Well there’s at least one person who still ‘believes’ in Real Madrid this season in LaLiga and that’s Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde.

“We consider Real Madrid a candidate for the title for the rest of the season.”

“I know that the differences seem great, but are not, just seven points. They are one of our rivals.”

Clearly he was very brief here and it’s almost customary for rival managers to give some credence to their opponents, but the sentiment is at least a nice one.

While Real are obviously a long shot for the title right now given their form, you just never know what will happen the rest of the season in LaLiga. It will either end in bitter disappointment or pleasant surprise, there really doesn’t seem to be an in-between at this point.