Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has insisted his side simply do not possess enough confidence to perform well for the entirety of 90 minutes after being held to a 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo on Sunday evening.
Los Blancos fell behind on the half-hour mark as Celticos midfielder Daniel Wass capatalised on goalkeeper Keylor Navas' positional blunder by lobbing the Costa Rican from outside the area.
However, thanks to two quick-fire Gareth Bale finishes, both assisted beautifully via Toni Kroos and Isco respectively, less than five minutes after conceding the Spanish capital side found themselves with the advantage.
But following the break, rather worryingly not for the first time this season, Real were pegged back, as Maxi Gomes headed home near the end - a goal that could have been the winner had Iago Aspas converted from the spot less than 10 minutes prior.
The result allowed Barcelona to extend their gap over Los Blancos to a simply stunning 16 points at the top of La Liga, with Zidane's side still holding a game in hand, and the Frenchman revealed his side's psychological state has been a large contributing factor in their struggles this campaign.
"We didn’t perform in the second half, we didn’t play like we did in the first", the former midfielder told his post-match press conference, as quoted by the club's official website.
"We’ve not played for 90 minutes. We played very well in the first half and the second was a bit worse.
"I have to work out the problem because I’m responsible. Sometimes we play well for the full 90 minutes but lately we aren’t doing it consistently.
"We’re not playing like we should be. We have to be more confident in our chances. We don’t have the confidence to play well for 90 minutes either.
I know they won five cups last year. I know he was just named FIFA's Best manager, but at 16 points (!) back of Barcelona mid-season, if Real Madrid falls against PSG next month, I think Zidane is gone.— Phil Schoen (@PhilSchoen) January 7, 2018
"Football doesn't always work out how you think it might. At times there are periods when you struggle.
"It wasn't a case that we played poorly throughout all of the second half, because we had the chances to have scored.
"However there were things that we saw out there, particularly when it came to bringing the ball out from the back, that we don't usually see from us.
"There's no explication for these things. We're going to try and address it and become more consistent."