Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane felt his side had let two points slip away as Gerard Moreno's late penalty earned Villarreal a 1-1 La Liga draw at Estadio de la Ceramica.
Los Blancos were out to get their league campaign back on course after a 4-1 defeat at Valencia before the international break.
Mariano Diaz headed the visitors into an early lead but Real Madrid - missing captain Sergio Ramos and striker Karim Benzema through injury in addition COVID-19 infected trio Luka Jovic, Casemiro and Eder Militao - could not build on their advantage.
Villarreal, who were looking to go top of the table, created several good openings before there were awarded a penalty with 15 minutes left.
Substitute Samuel Chukwueze was brought down by Real Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois and Moreno dispatched the spot-kick.
"I'm annoyed as the boys worked really hard and we dropped two points," Zidane, whose side sit fourth in the standings, said.
Zidane brushed off questions over criticism coming his way from a lack of consistent results.
"I have the same drive and it will always be like that until the last day," he told a post-match press conference, reported on the Real Mardid club website.
Eden Hazard made a first appearance since November 3 after a positive Covid-19 test.
Zidane was pleased to see the Belgian playmaker, who went off after 65 minutes, back in action.
"He has not played for a long time and in a match you have to manage the minutes well, but he is involved and he is fine," he said.
Zidane played down reports Isco had asked for a transfer when the window opens again in January.
"He is a Real Madrid player, he is staying here and that's it," the Frenchman said
Villarreal continued their unbeaten home form, but manager Unai Emery felt his side had created enough chances after falling behind to take all three points.
"In the second half we have accumulated four clear chances to score and they only had one," the former Arsenal boss said, as quoted by Spanish media outlet Marca.
Sevilla beat Celta Vigo 4-2 to leave the visitors second-from-bottom.
Celta were playing their first game under new coach Eduardo Coudet and they took a 2-1 lead with goals from Nolito and Iago Aspas cancelling out Jules Kounde's opener.
However, goals from Youssef En-Nesyri, Sergio Escudero and Munir El Haddadi won the game for the hosts.
Lowly Levante drew 1-1 with mid-table Elche while Barcelona host Atletico Madrid in Saturday's late game.
Australian Associated Press