MADRID • Sergio Ramos has brushed aside suggestions that Real Madrid's players showed a poor attitude during their 2-1 La Liga away defeat by Valencia on Wednesday.
Two goals in the opening eight minutes from Simone Zaza and Fabian Orellana at the Mestella blew the title race wide open, as Real failed to make their 72 per cent possession in the second half count.
Cristiano Ronaldo reduced the margin before the break, but the loss leaves the Spanish football giants just a single point clear of Barcelona (51) and three ahead of Sevilla, albeit with a game in hand.
Real, who have won only one of their last six away games, also face a tricky trip to Villarreal on Sunday.
"It was a high-intensity game. We wanted to take at least a point. It was a really good game in hand to increase the gap in the table," Ramos was quoted as saying by Goal.com.
"Two mistakes at the start penalised us. Our attacking play sometimes is very risky and we lost the ball twice and conceded a goal each time.
"For me, there was no lack of attitude at any moment. We have to turn the page and learn from those mistakes. La Liga is very long and a lot of things can happen."
Real coach Zinedine Zidane conceded that his side lost the match in the opening 10 minutes.
"It was 10 bad minutes where we let two goals in," he told Spanish TV. "I'm not worried, I'm angry more than anything, because we only have ourselves to blame."
Zidane introduced Gareth Bale off the bench on just his second appearance after a three-month injury layoff for the final half hour.
And the Welshman nearly rescued a point but his header from point-blank range was blocked by Enzo Perez a minute from time.
Real's Brazilian wing-back Marcelo agreed with Zidane that they had thrown the game away early.
"We're still top but we really have to do something to change things, learn from our mistakes," he said.
"We got off poorly and it's our own fault."
Singapore businessman Peter Lim-owned Valencia have climbed to 14th in the table, after hovering near the relegation zone at the end of last year.
Caretaker manager Salvador Gonzalez "Voro" has managed to inspire the players, after they put up insipid displays under his predecessors Cesare Prandelli and Pako Ayestaran.