MADRID - Real Madrid's star striker Cristiano Ronaldo has vowed the faltering Spanish title holders will fight back in 2013 and played down reported tensions in the club.
Following captain Iker Casillas's message of calm after the team dropped 16 points behind rivals Barcelona in the league, on Wednesday it was the Portuguese goalscorer's turn to keep up appearances.
"It is difficult when a top team like Real Madrid that is used to winning finds itself not at its best level. It is normal that people get a bit more tense," Ronaldo told a news conference on Wednesday.
"We have to admit that we are having a bad moment but I am sure this will be a good year. We are training well and so good things are sure to come."
Weeks of rumours about splits in the club peaked on December 23 when coach Jose Mourinho dropped Casillas from the starting line-up away to Malaga — a game Real lost 3-2.
Mourinho insists that decision was taken on technical grounds alone and Ronaldo backed the Portuguese coach on Wednesday.
"The coach is the one who decides. We all have to respect his decisions," he said.
Casillas was hoping to regain his place for Sunday's match against Real Sociedad.
Ronaldo declined to comment on his own long-term plans with Real Madrid, which has not yet indicated whether it will renew his current contract beyond 2015.
"That is not the most important thing right now," said Ronaldo, who is the third-highest scorer in the league this season with 14 goals.
"More important than that is to find the right way to keep winning."