After Real Madrid’s 2-2 Spanish La Liga draw against Valencia on Saturday, Real defender Pepe admitted his side’s title challenge for Spanish top-tier glory was in pieces.
Real had to salvage a point against Nuno Espirito Santo’s men at the Santiago Bernabeu after a first half saw the visitors’ Paco Alcacer and Javi Fuego bulge the net, as well as the hosts’ Cristiano Ronaldo’s spot-kick being saved by goalkeeper Diego Alves.
Pepe began the fight-back early in the second half with a header past Alves, before former Valencia man Isco secured a point with a delightful long-range strike six minutes from time.
But Portugal international Pepe conceded that clawing back Barcelona’s four-point lead, after their 2-0 league win over Real Sociedad earlier that day, at the summit of the La Liga is tough.
“We didn’t start the match well, but we had a great second half,” he said after the game.
“La Liga is difficult now, but we must sweat for the jersey.
“It wasn’t an easy match [for the officials], but the referee made things complicated.”
Real manager Carlo Ancelotti echoed Pepe’s thought on the title race, though he is not giving up just yet.
He added: “It is much more complicated now.
“But there are still two matches left and we must try to win both.”