Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane says he is disappointed for his players but remains satisfied with their efforts following the 0-0 draw at Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.
Victory would have seen Los Blancos close the gap to Barcelona back to six points after the leaders dropped points against Celta Vigo, but the champions were unable to find the all-important goal against a side which is now winless in six league matches.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema could all have done better with first-half chances as Madrid's scoring troubles came to the fore once again.
It was the third time they have been held scoreless in this LaLiga campaign and a worrying trend which has left them fourth in the table, still eight points shy of pace-setters Barca.
"I am very happy with the performance and very disappointed not to score, but mostly I'm feeling disappointed for the players, as they gave everything," Zidane told Movistar.
"We deserved more and in the end we did not get the goal that would have given us three points.
"My job is to make sure we are positive and playing so that the goals will come. I am not concerned, but I am disappointed for the players."
Madrid's underwhelming evening was compounded by the late dismissal of Sergio Ramos for a second yellow after he appeared to catch Aritz Aduriz with an elbow.
The Spain international's red card - a record 19th in La Liga history - means he will join Casemiro and Dani Carvajal on the sidelines for next weekend's visit of Sevilla after they picked up their fifth yellows of the campaign.
"Ramos is not happy because he thinks it was not worthy of a card, but that is how it is and we cannot change it now," Zidane said.
By Matt Dorman
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