Zinedine Zidane rued his side's missed chances as the Frenchman suffered his first setback as Real Madrid coach in Sunday's 1-1 La Liga draw at struggling Real Betis.
Betis had not scored in any of their past seven games, but verdiblanco attacker Alvaro Cejudo sent a Zidane-esque volley to the top corner just seven minutes into the action at the Estadio Benito Villamarin.
Madrid held the majority of possession for the remainder of the match, as both teams also had strong penalty claims turned down, however the visitors' only goal came from Karim Benzema, with replays showing James Rodriguez was offside in the build-up.
The result sees Los Blancos now four points behind joint-leaders Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, with champions Barca having a game in hand.
The Madrid coach told his postgame news conference that his team had not started as well as they could, and had then paid for missing chances later in the game.
"Maybe our start was not so good," Zidane said. "We knew first 10-15 minutes would be difficult. Then with the game we played, we deserved more. But this is football. When you have chances you must take them. And we lacked a bit of luck."
Madrid have now won just one of their last five games away in La Liga, including four under previous coach Rafa Benitez, but Zidane said he could not fault the attitude of any of his players.
"We expected Betis like this," Zidane said. "This is a difficult place to play, great fans. And their goal was superb. I did not expect to drop points. But football is like this.
"If you don't take your chances, this can happen. I am taking the positives from the game we played. I could not reproach my players in anything."
Although the introduction of Dani Carvajal for an out-of-sorts Danilo at right-back helped Madrid in the second half, Zidane said he did not regret making his initial selection.
"Danilo started, nothing else," he said. "I am very happy with Carvajal. Danilo also played well. We have [a] big squad, I will keep making changes."
Zidane said he was happy with how his team were physically at this stage, and planned another week of intense work at training ahead of next week's home game against Espanyol.
"In the second half, we were physically better," Zidane said. "We are on our path. This is our third week coming up now, and we will keep working. I am very proud of what they did tonight -- although we missed those two points."