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Soccer-Butragueno calls for calm appraisal after Real draw again

Written by: Staff

MADRID, Mar 20 (Reuters) Real Madrid vice-president Emilio Butragueno has called for a calm appraisal after their goalless draw at home to Real Betis left them 11 points adrift of leaders Barcelona.

The Bernabeu crowd showed their disappointment at yesterday's lacklustre Primera Liga display by whistling the players off the pitch at the end.

''It has been a difficult 15 days for everyone and perhaps we all need to relax a little,'' Butragueno said.

''The positive thing from the match was that it was our third consecutive game without conceding a goal, but it is rare for a side like ours to go three games without scoring.

''A lot of people came to watch the game despite it being a holiday weekend, so it is no surprise they left disappointed.

There were a few good moments but generally we think the level of play could be better.'' Real's play lacked bite and direction against Betis in a poor first half. Although they improved after the break their inability to break down a side stuck in the relegation places highlighted their paucity of ideas.

After drawing 0-0 away to Arsenal on March 8 to go out of the Champions League, Real have only managed goalless draws away to Valencia and at home to Betis.

Barcelona's 2-0 win at Real Sociedad on Saturday allowed them to stretch their lead in the standings with 10 games left, making Real's chances of catching them look remote.

If Real fail to overhaul their arch-rivals it will be their third consecutive season without a major trophy, which would be their worst run of form in 52 years.

''We need to improve our performances,'' Butragueno said. ''We have three tough games on the horizon away to Real Zaragoza, at home to Deportivo Coruna and after that a trip to face Barcelona.

''We must recover our spirit as soon as possible. This is fundamental for everyone.'' On Wednesday Real visit Zaragoza, who knocked them out of the King's Cup at the semi-final stage last month.

Reuters DH RS1720

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