Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos says that under fire coach Zinedine Zidane has the backing of the dressing room, while pointing out that there have been too many changes at the Bernabeu in recent years.
Just months ago, Zidane was feted as one of the best coaches in Madrid's history, as the team completed an historic 2017 with five trophies, including the La Liga and Champions League double.
But Zidane himself has admitted his job is now on the line following Wednesday's shock Copa del Rey exit to lowly neighbours Leganes, and with his team already 19 points adrift of runaway La Liga leaders Barcelona.
Speaking in the Bernabeu mixed zone after the latest setback in a very difficult 2017-18, Ramos said now was a time for everybody at the club to stick together, and recalled that too many changes in past seasons had not gone well.
"[Zidane] has always had our confidence when we were winning everything, and now he has the support of the entire squad," Ramos said. "Zizou, like the team, will be feeling bad. We must all be together. We've been through a marvellous time. I am not the one who decides whether he stays or not.
"I've lived through seasons here [at Madrid] where there have been three or four coaches. Stability is good, and I am not one for many changes. I say that from experience. But these decisions are not for us [players] to make. We are the first who support him."
Madrid have won just one of their last five home games, with the run including a painful 3-0 Clasico loss against bitter rivals Barcelona, as well as the humiliating Copa exit to Leganes -- a local suburban side who had never played in the Primera Division until last year and have never won on Real's home ground.
"Recent results have been bad," Ramos admitted. "After a glorious period, when these type of results come it is even more difficult to take them. We are all responsible, not just the coach. We can do a little bit more and it has not happened. It is not an embarrassment, but it is a failure."
Ramos denied that a squad that won so much in recent seasons -- including historic back-to-back Champions Leagues -- no longer had the motivation required.
"Nobody gets tired of winning," he said. "If I did I would have retired three years ago. We all still have hunger. Football moves on and you must go through bad moments, and learn from them. You must be ready, as this is not nice, but we must accept the reality."
Just like Zidane at his postmatch news conference, Ramos said Madrid's season now hinged on the looming Champions League round of 16 tie with Paris Saint-Germain.
"We must not throw away the rest of the season," Ramos said. "We must focus on the only card we have left. We have a very difficult opponent in PSG, and we must give everything."