Los Blancos appeared to be gaining the momentum against Barcelona before losing the Clasico, leaving their centre-back frustrated at the loss of three points
Pepe has rued Real Madrid’s inability to make the most of a “luxurious” position as they suffered a crucial 2-1 Clasico defeat to Barcelona on Sunday.
The capital club equalised on the half-hour mark at Camp Nou through Cristiano Ronaldo after Jeremy Mathieu’s early opener.
But Madrid then failed to make the most of their ensuing superiority and were eventually beaten by a Luis Suarez strike, leaving the Portuguese centre-back to lament his side having not made more of their chances.
“We leave feeling sad because we were in a luxurious position in the first half. We had a lot of possession, a lot of movement on the ball, and many chances. Barcelona came up with one set piece and scored,” Pepe told reporters after the match.
“After they scored the second we changed mentality and the game escaped us completely. The goal defined the game because we began to take risks and were not as reliable in our style of play.
“We started playing more with our hearts than with our heads.”
The defeat leaves Madrid four points adrift of the Blaugrana at the top of the Liga standings with 10 games to play.
But the 32-year-old insists they will fight until the end to overturn the deficit, citing last season’s last-gasp Champions League final turnaround against neighbours Atletico Madrid as a motiviating factor.
“We’re not going to throw the league,” he added. “We will fight until the end because that is what the Real Madrid badge demands.
“We have the example of last season.”
Team-mate Luka Modric agreed that Madrid will keep going until the very end of the season, insisting his side can take something from having performed so well against the league leaders.
“We were much better than Barcelona, and we nearly scored two or three goals in the first half. It just didn’t happen for us,” the Croatian told Canal+.
“Before their second we played very well both defensively and offensively, but maybe that goal killed us a little mentally and we fatigued.
“We have to play the coming matches as we did the first 60 minutes. We still have plenty to play for and we have to fight to the end.”