Madrid will keep pushing for LaLiga title despite 'painful' loss, says Bettoni

By Sports Desk January 30, 2021

David Bettoni insisted Real Madrid would continue pushing for the LaLiga title despite a "painful" loss to Levante on Saturday.

Madrid suffered their third loss in four games in all competitions, beaten 2-1 by Levante after Roger Marti's 78th-minute winner.

Marco Asensio had given Madrid the lead despite Eder Militao's early red card, but Jose Luis Morales Nogales equalised and Marti – who missed a penalty – secured three points for Levante.

While Madrid are seven points behind rivals Atletico, who also have two games in hand, Bettoni – who took charge as Zinedine Zidane recovers from coronavirus – said the LaLiga giants would keep fighting.

"Real Madrid fans keep believing in their team because they know we're a side that will always fight until the end for all of the titles that we want to win," the assistant coach told a news conference.

"Especially in the second half where we were playing with 10 men against a very good Levante side, we were still playing well. We were pressing well despite being one man down. I think we could have won but we weren't able to.

"I can take nothing away from the attitude of the players. That's what we're sticking with today after the result. I think all Real Madrid fans would have seen the performance and can be pleased, but not with the result.

"It's obviously painful for us all but nothing can be questioned about the attitude of the team. We saw a team that fought until the end."

Before giving Levante the lead, Marti missed a penalty, meaning he has netted just one of his past three spot-kicks in LaLiga.

It was Militao's red card that proved costly, though, as the defender suffered the fastest sending off of a Madrid outfield player in LaLiga since at least the 2003-04 season.

With Madrid behind, star forward Karim Benzema was substituted with eight minutes remaining, and Bettoni said he wanted fresh legs.

"We made the change because we wanted to bring on Mariano [Diaz]. We wanted to make that change and we don't look at who the top scorer of the team is," he said.

"We have a very good squad, we have a very good second striker in Mariano. We wanted to bring him on to try and bring on fresh legs up front.

"He's very good in the air and he likes to fight for the ball, so we just wanted to change one striker for another, nothing more."

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