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More misery for Madrid

The Real Madrid defender Gabriel Heinze has called for unity as the Spanish giants suffer their fourth defeat in eight matches.

Time could be running out for the Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster after a 1-0 loss to Real Valladolid, their fourth in eight matches.
Time could be running out for the Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster after a 1-0 loss to Real Valladolid, their fourth in eight matches.

The Real Madrid defender Gabriel Heinze has called for unity and dismissed any suggestion there is a problem with attitude among the squad in the wake of the latest body blow for the ailing Spanish giants. Heinze was speaking following his side's 1-0 defeat at Real Valladolid on Saturday, a match which saw the Argentinian sent-off late on and heaped further pressure on the Madrid coach Bernd Schuster.

That was the champion's fourth defeat in their last eight games, thanks to Fabian Cannobio's well taken goal early in the second half, but the former Manchester United defender insists that the mentality and work ethic in the squad is fine. "The problem is not attitude, because we've worked hard," said Heinze, who became the third Madrid player to see red in the league this season after he was dismissed for a second bookable offence.

"We played a serious match. That we didn't want the ball simply isn't true. Football is played with a ball and we wanted it. That's why we had our opportunities. It's a bad run, but there is a lot of quality here. We need to be united. Heinze also insisted the team were with coach Schuster, despite speculation in the build up to the Valladolid game that he would be sacked if Madrid lost at the Estadio Jose Zorrilla.

"It's a lie that we are not with the coach, we are with him. We all have the desire to move forward," he said. The Madrid captain Raul, who was denied a late equaliser by the Valladolid goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo after intercepting a poor back pass, also believes the best way for his side to escape from their rut is to stick together. "We need to have faith in everyone who is working hard, in the coaching staff and the players," he said.

"The situation is neither good or pleasant but we cannot give up and we need to continue working. "We need to find an answer in the upcoming games. The team knew what was at stake, but things didn't turn out as we had hoped." Schuster said of his side's loss: "We did not deserve to lose, we had no fortune. "We changed our style of play because we lacked some men but, nevertheless, aside from the goal, our opponents did not cause us any problems."

* PA Sport