Carlo Ancelotti defended Vinicius Junior after the Brazil forward was subjected to rough treatment during Real Madrid's defeat at Real Mallorca.
Los Blancos missed the chance to close the five-point gap on LaLiga leaders Barcelona after Nacho's own goal condemned them to a 1-0 loss on Sunday, in which Marco Asensio also saw a penalty saved.
Vinicius, who complained of being targeted during his side's 4-1 victory in the reverse fixture in September, was fouled 10 times – the most by any Madrid player in a Spanish top-flight match since Isco against Real Betis in August 2013.
Having branded Vinicius "disrespectful" earlier in the season, Mallorca captain Antonio Raillo also turned up the pressure earlier this week by claiming he would "never" cite the 22-year-old as a role model for his son.
10 - Vinícius Junior has won 10 fouls in this game against Mallorca, the highest tally for a Real Madrid player in a same LaLiga game since Isco v Real Betis in August 2013 (10). Braking. pic.twitter.com/apVaoTKxO6— OptaJose (@OptaJose) February 5, 2023
But Ancelotti leapt to his forward's defence, telling Movistar: "Everything that happens is not Vinicius' fault. All he wants to do is play football and then there is an atmosphere that provokes, rivals that squeeze him.
"The focus must be changed. We have to look at what happened to him in today's game.
"Today, the referee has forgotten about the repetitions of the fouls. It is a yellow card when the foul is repeated, repeated, repeated and repeated again. From the first half, we have come out with two cards and Mallorca with zero.
"It's a defeat that hurts a lot in this sense, but it was the game we expected. We prepared a hard, difficult game, with many fouls and interruptions.
"The small details determined the match. We were very affected by the goal conceded early and the missed penalty."
Andriy Lunin, who was a late replacement in goal for the injured Thibaut Courtois, added: "We did not deserve to lose this game. I'm angry about conceding the goal.
"Madrid always comes back and we will fight until the end. We don't have to think about this defeat, now it's our turn to go to the World Cup [against Al Ahly on Tuesday]."