The home side threw away a 1-0 lead in their 2-1 defeat at the Bernabeu on Sunday to make them an uphill task to make the quarters.
Casemiro pinpointed a drop in strength as the reason behind Real Madrid’s 2-1 Champions League loss to Manchester City — but remains convinced they could still overturn the first-leg deficit.
Madrid appeared on track to have an edge to the Etihad Stadium when Isco put them ahead on the hour mark in the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.
But, Gabriel Jesus’ header levelled matters for City before Kevin De Bruyne finished the turnaround in the penalty spot.
Sergio Ramos was sent off four minutes from the end of normal time, meaning Madrid will be without their captain for a return leg on March 17 where they need to score at least two times to advance.
Midfielder Casemiro is optimistic Madrid can still attain that tricky job, having pinpointed exactly where they went wrong on home turf.
“The explanation is obvious,” he advised Movistar
“We did 75 minutes very well and then we did not have any seriousness, we lost control of this match, we sat back and they’re a terrific rival, they assaulted twice and scored.
“There is no excuse. At the weekend we have got a tough game against Barcelona. We will need to begin thinking about that.”
On the next leg, he added:”If there is one team able to turning this around it is Real Madrid.
“But I think what is important is that we played really well for 75 minutes, against a wonderful side, and for 15 minutes we did not do what we needed to. And they came back to win.
“It is not over, but there is a good deal of work ahead.”
Zinedine Zidane, meanwhile, remained optimistic, reminding reporters that there was 90 minutes to go in this tie and anything could happen.
“We are gutted to have lost, but we understand the tie is over 180 minutes and regardless of what happens that is how it’s,” the coach said. “Even if we had won. We did the hard work scoring, then in 10 minutes they scored two.”
“That’s football. We can not change it. We will need to concentrate on the positives.
“In a result like there are not many positive things, we played well but for the past 10 or 15 minutes. Now we will need to go there and win if we would like to experience.”
“They are mistaken and you pay when you make errors. That’s it. But errors are a part of football and that is how it is.
“We gave everything on the pitch, we lacked 10 moments of concentration more. It was a really physical, even game and in the end we paid for it.”
Madrid, who have just won one of their previous five fixtures across all contests, will go to the Etihad Stadium to face City on March 17.