Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has called on his teammates to dig deep and improve if they are to have any chance of winning a trophy this season.
Los Blancos have been lacklustre during the 2020/21 campaign, and last weekend's thumping 4-1 La Liga defeat to Valencia leaves them four points behind surprise table toppers Real Sociedad, albeit with a game in hand.
Zinedine Zidane's side have won five of their eight La Liga fixtures, but they've been dreadful in Europe - slipping to a shock defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk, scrambling a point away at Borussia Monchengladbach after trailing by two goals, before beating Inter by the odd goal in five.
That form has prompted Kroos, in an interview with Marca, to express his frustrations with Real's lack of consistency.
"Well, in the end, we do lack something. That's not a secret. Everyone can see it. We're not missing a lot... we need to be consistent," Kroos admitted.
"If you look at the results, they go two good, one bad, two good, one bad. We have to do better. You watch some games and you realise that you can do much better - against Barcelona, the first half against Inter and another one.
"We're going through a very strange situation for everyone. We're playing every three days, we had little time off, we ended last season very late, we couldn't sign players in the summer... Now there are injuries, some have to stop because of COVID, but I don't like finding excuses. We put out a starting line-up that can beat the opponent in every game."
Real are currently playing their home matches at their training ground - Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano - due to renovations at the Santiago Bernabéu. The club's results during this time have not been what they would have hoped, and Kroos was quick to point out that not playing well on a regular basis is unacceptable.
He continued: "I have no doubts. Why don't we do it? We have to find solutions to improve. It's not something general; it's specific things or situations in each game and that's why we have to react. The truth is that, as a team, if we want to win things, we have to improve. And we've already seen how good we can be."
"If you look at how good we can play, of course. Sometimes you can lose, not play well - that can happen - but the opposite happens more than we'd like and we can't allow it."
Real face Villarreal when La Liga returns next week, and can get rest safe in the knowledge that their inconsistent start has still been better than that of arch rivals Barcelona - who sit on just 11 points from their opening seven games.