Real Madrid must not be reliant on individual players like Cristiano Ronaldo to win difficult matches, according to club sports director Miguel Pardeza.
Real suffered their first defeat of the season on Sunday, losing 2-1 at title rivals Sevilla to slip three points behind La Liga champions and leaders Barcelona.
It was their first match without top scorer Ronaldo, who has an ankle strain, and local media have been quick to say that Real are over-reliant on the Portuguese winger.
"Cristiano is great player who can decide a game, open up a game, but a club like Real Madrid cannot afford to depend on only one player. It should be above individuals," Pardeza told daily newspaper El Mundo.
He said improvements were clearly necessary, particularly in defence, and that coach Manuel Pellegrini needed time to develop the team's playing style and tactics to be able to challenge arch-rivals Barcelona.
"It has taken Barca almost 20 years to achieve their success, their style," Pardeza said. "The demands and expectations are one thing, but the reality is something else.
"However much you push a team, it needs time. We have made our choice and the logical thing is to back it. Pellegrini is capabale of driving this Ferrari.
"He doesn't lose his cool easily and this is positive. In a club as difficult as this....it is good to have steady nerves."