Madrid: Under-fire Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho said he was to blame for his side's shock 3-2 home loss to strugglers Real Zaragoza but stressed Real had not thrown in the towel in the Spanish title race.
Real were fortunate to see rivals Barcelona lose 2-1 at Real Sociedad later Saturday although Barca stay on course to retain their title, lying eight points ahead and needing just four points from four games to win a third consecutive league crown.
Madrid were still reeling from their stormy 2-0 Champions League semi final loss in midweek to Barcelona and turned in an abject display against Zaragoza as they fell to their second league home defeat of the season.
After going nine years without losing a home match in the league, Mourinho has now lost two league home games in a month following the 1-0 league reverse against Sporting Gijon in early April.
"I hope no one thinks that we have given up on the title," said Mourinho. "I am the only one to blame for this defeat because as a coach I wasn't capable of motivating the team in the first half."
"In the second half we were better but we gave them three goals. Our opponents fought hard and it was a decisive game for them and their battle against relegation."
Mourinho said he could understand if Zaragoza's relegation rivals were angry at their shock win at the Bernabeu.
"My conscience is clear and I didn't want to gift Zaragoza anything or any of the other teams fighting relegation," said Mourinho.
"I don't feel we are giving anyone a gift but I accept that some teams may think that."
Top-scorer Cristiano Ronaldo watched from the stands, but Mourinho insisted it was not a punishment and had nothing to do with the Portuguese's complaints on and off the pitch about the negative tactics employed against Barcelona in the Champions League.
"Leaving him out of the squad was my decision," said Mourinho. "I had (Gonzalo) Higuain and (Karim) Benzema and they seemed very motivated."