Real Madrid defender Marcelo has revealed the reason he believes why Barcelona were able to walk away from Santiago Bernabeu Stadium with all three points on Saturday, and has stated the group are still very much behind their manager despite Los Blancos' disappointing first half of the season.
The Spanish capital outfit's boss witness his side dismantled in the second-half by the visiting Catalonians, with Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi from the penalty spot and Aleix Vidal wrapping up all three points in a convincing 3-0 win against the 10-men hosts.
The result afforded Barca a 14-point gap over the reigning La Liga champions, who currently sit in fourth behind Atletico Madrid and Valencia, and also maintained Ernesto Valverde's side's unbeaten run in all competitions so far this season.
Real were hampered halfway through the second-half as Dani Carvajal was shown a straight red card for denying a certain Paulinho goal on the goalline, something which Marcelo believes, as well as Barcelona's overall style of play, played a significant role in his side's defeat.
"We tried to carry on doing what we did in the first half", the Brazilian told Spanish news outlet AS following the 90 minutes.
"Playing against Barca really tires you out. You never stop running and it tires you mentally too.
"The second-half turned out differently to the first. We went a player down and after that, they killed us.
"That's football. If it had happened the other way around, maybe we would have won. We tried everything.
"We're talking about Barca, and it's not easy to play them. Some things you just cannot do. We conceded a goal and tried to continue but we didn't play as well as we did in the first half.
"We did what we could to put in a good game."
Much was made of boss Zinedine Zidane's decision to leave out Isco and instead field Mateo Kovacic for what is undoubtably Los Blancos' toughest domestic test of the season, with the Frenchman highly criticised after the final whistle.
But, despite what can be seen now as a glaring mistake, Marcelo has revealed those in the dressing room are still very much with the 45-year-old, even though they are enduring a tricky spell.
I will support Zizou as long he is the manager of the RealMadrid..He won us 5 trophies in a year which no one couldnt before.and none the less he won consecutive UCLs as well.Respect the man ffs..you shameless fools.— Z. (@ZR07_) December 24, 2017
"The Bernabeu is very demanding, to play for Madrid there is always pressure and huge demands on you", the defender added. That's just the way it is if you want to play here.
"The line-up? I am 100% behind the boss, I will defend him to the death - no doubt about that.
"Many people seem to have forgotten what he has won with Madrid. We won five trophies this year, and it's not the end of the story.
"He is a brilliant coach. I thought the line-up was good and we're with him to the death."