MADRID - Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti was left frustrated after his side were forced to hang on to beat Rayo Vallecano 3-2 on Saturday.
Madrid had cruised into a 3-0 lead thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo double and a Karim Benzema header as Gareth Bale laid on two goals for the second consecutive game.
However, two Jonathan Viera penalties in the space of two minutes brought Rayo right back into the game with 35 minutes still to play.
And the hosts were extremely unlucky not to snatch a point as Alberto Bueno struck the post and saw another effort fly inches wide of Diego Lopez's far post.
Despite eventually running out 7-3 winners, Real had also let Sevilla score two quick goals after going 3-0 ahead on Wednesday.
And Ancelotti wants his side to be more ruthless once they get into a winning position.
"Against Sevilla we were 3-0 up and let them back into the game. Today the same thing happened and that is not a coincidence," he said.
"We need to change and remove the superficiality we have on the pitch, the second-half was a disaster. You cannot let a team back into the game like that when you have the quality of Real Madrid.
"Rayo press very well high up the pitch, they are very strong in this.
"We struggled in the second-half, not in the first. We need to read the game better and take advantage of the counter-attack."
Whilst Ancelotti refused to blame individuals for the manner in which they wilted in the second period, defender Pepe admitted he had been more forthright in the dressing room.
"In the first-half we had intensity and movement. In the second Rayo were much stronger and they pressured us a lot in front of their own fans. It was very difficult for us.
"We just weren't there in the second-half, we lacked intensity and the manager told us that. Now we have to learn from what has happened in the last two games."
Having survived their scare in Vallecas to move to within six points of Barcelona at the top of La Liga, Madrid now travel to face Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday.
A point in Turin will be enough for the Spanish giants to secure their place in the last 16.
However, Ancelotti will almost certainly have to do without left-back Fabio Coentrao after he limped off with an ankle injury before half-time.
Xabi Alonso is also a doubt after he came off at the break on his first start of the season after groin and foot injuries.
But Raphael Varane will return at the heart of the defence after being rested against Rayo.