Valencia's defender Ricardo Costa wanted to publicly apologize for his team's below-par performance on Sunday against Real Madrid at the Mestalla. He noted that in only 14 minutes José Mourinho's team "wiped them out" on the counter-attack, scoring four times.
"They're a powerful team but we can't be so vulnerable. We can't let a team score so many against us in such a short space of time again", he stressed in a press conference today.
For the Portuguese international, the abysmal difference between Valencia's performances last Tuesday at the Santiago Bernabéu and on Sunday at the Mestalla is down to the fact that the team played too open in the second match, losing a lot of balls and allowing Real Madrid to use their best weapon, the counter-attack.
"In the opening minutes we were on a par with Madrid. But on one counter-attack they score the first one; then you try to gets things level and they score the second. From then on things got more difficult. The team became unbalanced and more Real Madrid counters came. They're the best team at those, with the players they have", he indicated.
The player seemed very annoyed at the suggestion that he under-performed, and that a good number of Real Madrid's goals came from his side. "I don't think that I played badly. The team works as a unit and if you have to open up and cover 100 metres you can't. If you think the goals were my fault then you don't know football", he said.
Looking ahead to the second leg of the Copa del Rey quarter final, against Real Madrid and again at the Mestalla, the Portuguese noted that his team has to be careful defending on corners.
"We know we can't give balls away in midfield, we can't play so open inside; we have a lot to learn" he said. "We have to win on Wednesday. We know Real Madrid will be more relaxed, and it'll be a totally different match. We need to have our heads about us, not like yesterday because if not the same thing could happen", he warned.
"It's a difficult draw, but we should at least try to do damage to Real Madrid. We have to come out with character and not make the mistakes of the league. It'll be difficult to come back. We know the mistakes we can't commit and that scoring two goals against Madrid isn't easy. But we live off football, off wins and hope, and on Wednesday we have nothing to lose" he concluded.