Zinedine Zidane said that April Real Madrid would prioritize La Liga over the Champions League this season and their defeat to Real Mallorca on Saturday suggests they may not have the team to move away from both.
"For us next year, the league should be our number one priority," Zidan said. "It's the longest competition, it's the one that can't be missed, and I'll put it on my players' heads."
Yet Zidan made several changes to Galatasarai away from Tuesday's Group A game and who failed to impress, revealing the front-line failures with a stunning performance against Mallorca and slipping Madrid to their first league defeat of the campaign Gave.
Some adjustments were implemented as Aiden Hazard was absent on Friday after the birth of his fourth child while Tony Croce, Luca Modric and Gareth Bell were all nursing injuries of varying severity.
Others seemingly rested Rafael Verne and Dani Carvajal, along with Fade Valverde, who brought much needed energy to midfield before the international break.
Bale's calf injury was thought to be minor, but he was believed to be of great risk and would also miss a trip to Turkey with the winner of Ballon, Modric.
The immense importance of the game against Galatasarai and the heavy rotation for Zidane's recognition point to a point that Madrid cannot make another wrong move in Europe.
"The problem is that we have to show every three days that we are good," Zidan said on Saturday. "This is our difficulty and this is what we don't do. We should have consistency. If we want to do important work this year then we have to live more lives in our sport. "
Injuries 'part of football'
They sit at the bottom of the group, scoring only one point from their opening two matches and the possibility of failing to make the knock-out stage for the first time in the Champions League is still faint, but unlikely anyway.
It also suggests all the good intentions about continuity in La Liga, and some wrestling of the supremacy gained by Barcelona over the last decade, the Champions League for Real Madrid probably never playing second fiddle.
Ultimately, it was in the Champions League that Zidane lost his reputation as a coach, three victories in a row almost erased from the memory of his disappointing period in the domestic league and cup.
Zidane may have weighed that La Liga has time and games to recur which are not present in Europe but losing to Mallorca does not come without cost.
After being unbeaten in five matches, doubts about his team have returned and the spotlight is back on his French.
Perhaps he expects more from those who came in. Isco, Luka Djokov and Vinicius Jr. were out in the second half on Saturday and recently Vinicus is young and signed by Djokov, it remains to be seen how long it can take to regain Zidan's confidence. .
Alvaro Odriozola, on the right at Carvajal, was at fault for the goal and then departed.
"Injuries are part of football," Zidan said. "There were other players and we had to do better."
When Madrid won the league under Zidan in 2017, they successfully rotated in games against lesser sides but, despite spending nearly 300 million euros ($ 300 million) last summer, their squad did not have that much depth.
Galatasarai have won only four of their opening eight Super Lig games and have not reached the final 16 in the Champions League since 2014.
But Madrid could not be happier for the Turkish giants to lose three of their last four trips.
Zidan's hopes of progress will be replaced with a win, but he may need his best players to do so.