Sergio Ramos acknowledged Real Madrid wasted an opportunity to make a statement in LaLiga after their goalless draw with Real Betis.
Madrid would have moved top - clear of Barcelona by two points - with a victory on Saturday but failed to take their chances in a subdued encounter at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Betis' Joel Robles made some fine saves late on, having initially denied Ramos an opener just before half-time, while Ferland Mendy also passed up a glorious opportunity to break the deadlock as Madrid were held to a 0-0 draw for the first time under Zinedine Zidane.
Captain Ramos insisted Los Blancos did all they could to carve out a lead but shrugged off the suggestion LaLiga's traditional big three of Madrid, Barca and Atletico Madrid are beginning to falter, despite all three sides failing to win on Saturday.
"Nothing's happening, that's just football, it's not easy," Ramos told Movistar. "Today, Levante beat Barcelona, you can't expect to win any game, whoever you're playing against.
"Our league is the best in the world, we're fortunate to be playing in it and we try to do our best.
"Today was a good opportunity to become the leaders, with the other results. We fought for the result from the first minute but couldn't take the goal.
"The attitude and work in defence was good. You have to give credit to Betis too, they're a team who like to keep the ball and play football, it's not easy.
"It's a bittersweet feeling to get just one point, we've lost an opportunity to go first and take the lead."
Betis' standout performer Robles, meanwhile, believes Saturday's draw - on the back of their victory over Celta Vigo - can provide the struggling Andalusian side with a much-needed morale boost after they lost four of their previous five LaLiga matches before Saturday.
"We are happy with the work of the boys, it gives confidence, it's a good point in a tough stadium to come to," said Robles.
"We're happy for the point and we needed to get one here. We need to get more confidence, we're still not at our highest level, but we're going to keep working.
"We were in a bad run, but we got the victory over Celta and now this result will give us confidence. We have to enjoy this point, rest and then in a week we have the derby."