Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said there was “no drama” despite his team failing to build on their Clasico triumph, dropping two points in LaLiga’s title race with a 0-0 derby draw against Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.
Los Blancos spurned several chances as they drove Rayo back throughout at the Santiago Bernabeu but could not find the last-gasp winner they so often manage to produce.
The draw leaves Madrid second, two points behind shock leaders Girona, who came from behind to beat Osasuna, and two ahead of Barcelona after the Catalans’ fortunate win over Real Sociedad on Saturday.
“In the table we are doing very well, we’re in the fight, we’re doing very well in the Champions League – there is no drama,” Ancelotti told reporters.
“We’re confident, we will do things well, like we always do, like we did today.”
The Italian said the result was not fair on his team, who could not find the goal they craved.
“We’re hurt by the result, not the performance, clearly it was a game we deserved to win,” added Ancelotti.
“We tried in every way, and it didn’t come off, we tried until the last second.”
Ancelotti lined up with the energetic Eduardo Camavinga replacing injured holding midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni, as well as starting Luka Modric in place of Toni Kroos.
Real Madrid took the game to their neighbours from the off, with Rayo Vallecano’s Macedonian goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski kept extremely busy.
He made a superb save to thwart Fede Valverde who burst through on goal early on.
Madrid had an early scare when Jude Bellingham, the league’s top goalscorer with 10 strikes, went down hurt, holding his left shoulder.
After a couple of minutes the England international recovered and was able to stay on.
“Bellingham has a problem with his shoulder but was able to continue … I don’t think it will be anything serious,” said Ancelotti.
Fran Garcia flashed an effort narrowly over after good work by Bellingham to play him in and Dimitrievski made a fantastic save to deny Joselu after Vinicius Junior cut the ball back to him.
The Brazilian winger was increasingly involved as the game ticked towards its final stages and struck in the 66th minute, but the goal was ruled out for offside against Joselu.
Vinicius was booked for dissent as his and Madrid’s frustration grew in the face of the visitors’ staunch defending.
Bellingham, already the author of several decisive late interventions in matches for Madrid, could not repeat his heroics from last weekend when he scored a brace against Barcelona.
Rodrygo Goes came closest for Madrid in stoppage time with a backheeled effort straight at Dimitrievski, which he collected gratefully.
Ancelotti said before the game Brazilian wingers Vinicius and Rodrygo would end up outscoring Bellingham and Joselu this season, but his prediction did not begin to come true soon enough.
The denouement to the match was bad tempered, with Antonio Rudiger and Florian Lejeune booked after squaring off, and the Madrid defender is now suspended for their next LaLiga game against Valencia.
Rayo are now unbeaten in eight league games, with their most recent defeat coming at the start of September – and are level with Madrid and Barca on six clean sheets.
“It was a really complete game from the team, we put in a huge effort – we know what a tough place this is to come,” Rayo striker Raul de Tomas told DAZN.
Elsewhere Athletic Bilbao rose to fifth with a dramatic 3-2 win at lowly Villarreal on Sunday.
Brothers Nico and Inaki Williams struck for Ernesto Valverde’s side in the first half after Inigo Ruiz de Galarreta opened the scoring, as the visitors cruised.
However, Gerard Moreno pulled one back after 86 minutes and Alexander Sorloth headed home immediately after to set up a nail-biting finale.
Pacheta’s Villarreal have won just one of their last seven league games and sit provisionally 13th, five points above the relegation zone.
“The first half was so weak, we cannot play like that,” Moreno told Movistar.
Athletic are four points behind Atletico Madrid, who lost Friday at Las Palmas.