Jose Mourinho insists he has no intention of quitting as Real Madrid coach and does not fear for his job in the wake of Saturday night's 3-2 defeat to Malaga.
The season has not even reached its winter break and Madrid's title defence is in tatters with Mourinho's men now 16 points behind runaway leaders Barcelona following another hugely disappointing night for the champions.
Mourinho, who took the surprise decision to drop club captain Iker Casillas from his starting line-up, was in defiant mood when asked whether he had considered stepping down.
He told reporters at the post-match press conference: "Neither before, during or after the game have I thought about resigning.
"I don't fear for my position. This is football. I'm not a child, nor have I been here for a couple of days. Coaches know that football has no memory and only takes into account what was done today and not what was done yesterday.
"It doesn't take into account what titles you've won, nor the work you've done, it's all about the now. We're sad to have lost but the players have done their best. They tried against Espanyol and today, but we didn't have any luck.
"This week off comes at the ideal moment. The players are empty. They have given everything and they haven't been rewarded.
"Real Madrid were champions last season with a nine-point advantage to second place. This season we are at a distance which, in my opinion, is insurmountable. We have to assume responsibility that we are not having a good season.''
Regarding his selection of Antonio Adan ahead of long-term first-choice goalkeeper Casillas, Mourinho said: "It's a technical decision. The coach analyses the situation, looks at the players at his disposal and chooses his team. At the moment, for me and my coaching staff, Adan is better than Iker.
"You can invent the stories that you want but it's purely a technical decision."
Information from the Press Association was used in this report