Former Real Madrid general manager Jorge Valdano said the club are paying the price for the “disconnect” between the coach and players.
Madrid suffered a 1-0 loss to Villarreal in La Liga on Sunday, a result that cost the capital club the chance to capitalise on Barcelona’s draw at home to Deportivo La Coruna.
A win would have seen Rafael Benitez’s side move to within two points of champions Barca, who surrendered a two-goal lead as they drew 2-2 on Saturday.
Valdano criticised Benitez and the players, claiming the side showed “weak spirit” in the first-half against Villarreal.
“There was a drop of collective intensity from the first minute,” Valdano said on Cadena Ser programme El Larguero.
“It’s inexplicable what happened in the first half, especially after seeing the second part. Madrid had the opportunity to move within two points and they lost in the first-half with a team with weak spirit.
“In the first half Madrid acted with an unbecoming mediocrity.”
The former Argentina international, who was part of the side that won the 1986 World Cup, also spoke about the “complex” situation in the dressing room.
“At Madrid you cannot train the same way Villarreal does,” he said. “It’s much more complex than that.
“Madrid are paying the price of having a disconnect between the manager and players.”