Madrid: Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti on Friday blamed his side`s poor start to 2015 on a problem with their "mental state".
After ending 2014 with 22 straight victories, a club record, Champions League winners Real began the new year by losing 2-1 at Valencia and then going down 2-0 to city rivals Atletico Madrid in the Spanish Cup.
"After the holidays we weren`t in the best mental state," said Ancelotti ahead of Saturday`s clash with Espanyol.
"We had a fantastic run of wins and then we had two complicated matches.
"For the moment we haven`t rediscovered the tempo with which we ended the year. But physically we`re in good shape."
Ancelotti also reminded journalists that they had lost two in a row in September before embarking on their 22 match winning run.
"We have physical test results that show the team is in good shape.
"Maybe we didn`t play with the right tempo and we need to push harder, to show more intensity, but physically we`re in very good shape."
Should Real beat Espanyol, they would secure the symbolic title of `winter champions` for the team leading at the halfway stage of the season.