Zinedine Zidane is refusing to blame injuries for Real Madrid falling 10 points behind Barcelona at the summit of La Liga.
Gareth Bale has missed almost two months with calf and adductor injuries, while Keylor Navas and Mateo Kovacic have both endured spells on the sidelines in recent months.
Madrid 4/1 for La Liga title
Sergio Ramos could join all three in missing Saturday’s clash with Malaga after suffering a broken nose in last weekend’s draw with Atletico Madrid and the club confirmed on Friday that midfielder Marco Asensio had sustained an obturator injury.
Zidane, though, admits that there are a number of factors behind his side’s struggles this season and the gap between themselves and Ernesto Valverde’s side cannot solely be attributed to a lengthy injury list.
“I am not going to look for excuses,” he said.
“The 10 points are not due to injuries – that can happen in football.
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“It is a bit of everything and I am responsible for that and trying to get those points back.
“I’m convinced we can do that, but we don’t need excuses. What’s happened is behind us and we need to keep moving forward now.”
Madrid can cut the gap to Barca to seven points with a win over 18th-placed Malaga, with the Catalan side not facing second-placed Valencia until Sunday.
“Malaga’s position in the table is not deserved,” added Zidane. “They have been playing well recently, won two of their last three games.
“All matches now are decisive for us. We are playing first, and then we will see what happens on Sunday. One of the teams must drop points. I did not expect to be in this situation.”