Sergio Ramos concedes Real Madrid can play much better

Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos has insisted that the Spanish champions’ poor start to the new campaign which was compounded by defeat to Sevilla on Saturday night is not a symbol of a crisis at the Santiago Bernabeu but admits performances need to improve.

Madrid find themselves eight points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona, with just four points from the first four games and Saturday night’s defeat to Michel’s men was their second in the league so far after being beaten by Getafe.

Mourinho came out angrily after the game, claiming that he “had no team”.

But defender Sergio Ramos gave credit to the Andalusians believing their performance merited the victory.

“The team is struggling to win in the league but take nothing away from Sevilla,” Ramos told reporters.

“They’re difficult opponents and they suffocated us on the pitch. Even so, we could have played better.”

When asked about Jose Mourinho’s comments, the Spaniard explained that: “now is not the time to comment, because we have a week to re-organise and in the meantime we can’t get down because we have a Champions League match on Tuesday.”

Real Madrid host Manchester City on Tuesday night in the opening Champions League group game.

TEAM NEWS: Higuain starts for Madrid while Modric is named as a substitute

The Real Madrid manager has chosen to give Gonzalo Higuain a place in his starting line-up for the match against Sevilla tonight, after Karim Benzema had started their last league match, the 3-0 win over Granada before the international break.

Fabio Coentrao is not part of Mourinho’s squad as he remains suspended, but recent loan signing Michael Essien is available for selection and could make his debut tonight should he come off the bench. Luka Modric is also named as a substitute for the reigning Liga champions.

Sevilla’s coach Michel makes one change from the side that drew against Rayo Vallecano on September 2, as Hedwiges Maduro comes in to replace Manu del Moral. The switch means Los Rojiblancos are more defensive than usual, and will be playing a 4-2-3-1 formation, as opposed to their normal 4-3-3. Gary Medel will sit alongside Maduro in front of the back four, while Jesus Navas, Piotr Trochowski and Ivan Rakitic will support the lone striker Alvaro Negredo.The home side are without Jose Antonio Reyes once more, as he remains sidelined with a shoulder problem, although they do welcome back Diego Perotti from injury, and he takes his place on the substitutes bench.

Sevilla (4-2-3-1):

Palop; Cicinho, Spahic, Botia, Fernando Navarro; Medel, Maduro; Rakitic, Navas, Trochowski; NegredoSubstitutes: Diego Lopez; Cala, Campana, Manu del Moral, Baba, Luna, Kondogbia

Real Madrid (4-2-3-1):

Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Khedira, Xabi Alonso; Cristiano Ronaldo, Ozil, Di Maria; Higuain

Substitutes: Adan, Albiol, Kaka, Modric, Essien, Callejon, Benzema

'I don't have a team right now' – Mourinho livid after second Liga loss

Jose Mourinho has slammed his Real Madrid side after losing 1-0 to Sevilla on Saturday night, alluding to an absence on the part of the players who offered a lacklustre performance.

Los Blancos have made a comparatively poor start to the season, picking up just four points from their first four games, which places them tenth in the table and eight points behind leaders and long-standing rivals Barcelona.

Mourinho is unhappy with the attitude shown by the players, and it would seem not only in the game against Sevilla. Cracks have appeared recently in the set-up at the Santiago Bernabeu with Cristiano Ronaldo claiming he is ‘sad’ at the club.

“At the moment, I have no team,” Mourinho said to reporters after the game.

“The first period and the second period, we got it badly wrong. It was a totally deserved victory for Sevilla and totally deserved loss for Real Madrid.

“Congratulations to Sevilla because they did everything to get the win and they deserved it without a doubt. And we deserved the loss in an awful game for us,” he added.

Mourinho continued, discussing the difficult form of late. “Today’s match was no different from Getafe. It was not very different from Granada either, apart from the fact we won. I do not think it has anything to do with the rumour of the past two weeks. For me it’s about the state of our collective spirit”.

Real Madrid take on Manchester City in the Champions League opening game on Tuesday night.

Sevilla 1-0 Real Madrid: Trochowski strikes to heap misery on Mourinho's men

Piotr Trochowski, Sevilla

Piotr Trochowski, Sevilla

Real Madrid’s stuttering start to the defence of their Liga crown continued as they fell to a 1-0 defeat to Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

The Rojiblancos had not beaten the club from the capital since October 2009 but got off to a great start as Piotr Trochowski put them ahead inside two minutes. But in a highly-charged encounter Los Blancos were unable to equalise, hitting the woodwork twice in the second half as they succumbed to their second league defeat of the season.

The match started at a frenetic pace with the hosts taking the game straight to Jose Mourinho’s men. A shot from the edge of the box inside the first minute was spilled back into the danger area by Iker Casillas but he recovered to stop Alvaro Negredo from tapping in the rebound.

Ivan Rakitic took the resultant corner and he dropped it on the penalty spot where it was met by Trochowski, who had escaped the loose marking of Angel Di Maria, and he volleyed into the roof of the net with aplomb.

Clearly aggravated at going behind, the visitors’ tempers began to flair and Gonzalo Higuain was fortunate to remain on the pitch after kicking out on Fernando Navarro despite winning a free kick for his side.

He confronted the left-back again moments later, but in the 10th minute attentions were turned back to the goal mouth. Cristiano Ronaldo thumped a free kick over the wall from 20 yards but his effort was too close to Andres Palop who dived across and turned it behind. The keeper then denied the Portuguese seconds later following a speculative attempt from deep.

Madrid began to assert themselves as the game went on and with 20 minutes played Mesut Ozil fed Higuain at the top of the box. The striker did superbly to spin his marker but he could not add an equally impressive finish, slicing his shot high and wide.

In an attempt to bring his side back into the match Mourinho replaced the disappointing Di Maria and Ozil with Luka Modric and Karim Benzema at half time.

The Croatian had an immediate impact as within just seven minutes he almost drew the visitors level. From  long range, Modric caught the ball superbly but Palop again got an important touch, tipping the effort onto the post.

With Sevilla unable to retain the ball, the reigning Liga champions hit the woodwork again on the hour mark. Palop failed to clear a free kick from the left and Benzema controlled the ball at the back post. He volleyed it across goal but Sergio Ramos headed onto the bar from inside the six-yard box.

Madrid continued to search for an equaliser but their efforts proved in vain as the hosts remained compact at the back despite dropping deeper and deeper in the closing stages. Ronaldo saw his free kick in the final minute of stoppage time fly over the bar in what proved to be their last chance of the game.

Victory moves Sevilla up to third in the table, but they may fall from there depending on Sunday’s games. Real Madrid meanwhile sit eight points behind arch rivals Barcelona in a lowly 12th position, and they could see that worsen if this weekend’s remaining results go against them.