Jose Mourinho has called on Real Madrid to improve in 2011 if they are to wrest the title from Barcelona.
Real have made an impressive start to life under the Portuguese coach, winning 15 of 18 league matches played in the first half of the season.
Nevertheless, they are already four points behind Barcelona and following a disappointing 1-1 draw away to bottom club Almeria on Sunday, Mourinho knows they can ill afford to drop many more points.
“This draw is two points lost,” Mourinho said.
“We always want to win, but there is the entire second half of the season to be played.”
“I think we have done well so far. We have won 15 matches, lost one and drawn two, but it isn’t enough to be champions. We hope to improve in the second half of the season.”
“We didn’t play at the rhythm we are used to during the first half. Almeria defended very well, were very organized and played up to their potential. Hats off to them for earning a very important point.”
Mourinho was clearly infuriated by the referee’s decision not to award penalties after Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo were brought down in the box, while a handball inside the area from Modeste M’Bami also went unpunished.
“Under normal conditions, if referees do their job with the same criteria for every team, La Liga is anybody’s,” Mourinho said.
“I am not going to complain about the officiating. I prefer to speak well of referees, like I did last Thursday despite the fact that the goal conceded came from an offside position.”
“If I don’t have anything nice to say, I would rather not say anything. I know this referee from the first time I was in Spain. We all change over time, but Mr. Perez Lasa is exactly the same in 2011 as he was in 1996.”