“We’ll look and see what we can do better,” Moyes said. “I don’t think we defended as well as we could’ve done for the goals. But I can put that down to Real’s play, their movement, the way they pull you around.
“We got off to a great start and we just weren’t able to build on it. It was always going to be a tough day, and it proved to be.”
La Real shocked the Bernabeu after just 38 seconds, when young home-grown right-back Aritz Elustondo arrived unmarked to head in a corner. However €80m ‘galactico’ James Rodriguez equalised within two minutes, and further goals from Madrid’s Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema (2) sealed the easy victory.
Madrid were missing the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo, and were far from their free-flowing best.
But once things settled after a hectic opening 10 minutes, there was no contest. Had Gareth Bale brought his shooting boots, the margin would have been much greater. But Moyes did not sound too downbeat.
“We’re trying to build,” he said. “This could arguably be the ultimate test. We know that the top of the Spanish league is as good as anywhere in the world. Any team coming here was going to have a tough day.”
Chatting with English-speaking reporters, the former Manchester United and Everton coach was trying to be optimistic. He has had a mixed start to life at the Basque club. Yes, the team looks more organised and compact, while he also masterminded a 1-0 home win over Barcelona. However his first 10 La Liga games have brought just three wins and nine goals scored. The team has also exited the Copa del Rey.
January’s transfer window ended in frustration, with no signings. A late €4m move for relatively unknown winger Nabil Bahoui from AIK Solna broke down, and reported interest in Joel Campbell and Adnan Januzaj came to nothing. “We tried really hard for players, we pushed to try and get two or three, we were close, we were nearly there,” Moyes said. “We lost one on the deadline (Bahoui). We pushed for one or two people from England that we thought we had a chance with. We didn’t just quite get what we wanted.”
Now it seems the most La Real can hope for this season is mid-table mediocrity. Worryingly, for a team which has not won away all season, they still have to go to Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Valencia and local rivals Athletic Bilbao. Currently sitting near the top of a very tight bottom half, they could easily be pulled into a relegation dog-fight. The potentially serious knee injury suffered by top scorer Carlos Vela on Saturday is a huge concern, given no other La Real player has netted more than twice in La Liga all season. But Moyes remains bullish.
“I want to come here to Real Madrid with a team that can really challenge them,” he said. “Today we came here knowing it’d be incredibly tough and I think the players did everything they could. But I want to come here with a team which has got a chance of getting results.”