Carlo Ancelotti admits his side "must improve a lot of things" if they are to mount a serious title challenge this season after Real Madrid slumped to a 1-0 defeat against rivals Atletico Madrid on Saturday.
Real suffered their first home defeat of the season in the Madrid derby and Ancelotti has openly criticised his players following a match which Atletico dominated.
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The Italian insists it is the players' commitment, not his tactics, which cost Los Blancos victory.
"We were slow in attack. We didn't have a good game," he said. "We have to recover and improve. Losing a match at home is not easy. I have to think about solutions. We played well up until last week.
"We have to continue working with the same system but I'm confident we will improve. We must improve a lot of things including our attitude and confidence. I have faith in my players. The problem is not our style of play, it's with our pace."
Ancelotti believes the result confirms Atletico's title credentials.
"Atletico Madrid deserved to win the game," he added. "They were organised and solid in defence. I think Atletico are a very solid team with a lot of quality. They can compete for the league title."
Although Real are now five points behind joint leaders Barcelona and Atletico, defender Sergio Ramos is confident his side's La Liga challenge will soon get back on track.
"We have to keep working hard to win as many titles as possible," he said. "The important thing is how the season ends, not how it starts. When you do not win and things do not go how you wanted you have to reflect and take something out of the match.
"You cannot live in the past, you have to show every day that the team that makes fewer mistakes takes the win."
Atletico boss Diego Simeone played down his own side's chances of breaking down Barcelona and Real's dominance in Spain, conceding the financial gap could give the league's 'big two' an advantage later in the campaign.
"It would be demagogically perfect to change [the notion of a two-team league] but across the season the economic power [of Barca and Real Madrid] is superior to the rest," he said. "It makes it hard for us to challenge over a league season. We have our weapons and we try to give our lives in every game."