Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano believes the race for the La Liga title is still far from over despite Saturday’s 2-1 narrow victory over title contenders Atletico Madrid.
Mascherano and his team-mates had to dig deep at home to edge a nine man Atletico Madrid 2-1 at the Camp Nou to open up a three-point lead at the top of the La Liga log.
The Argentine who on Saturday reprised his double role as defensive reinforcement and midfield link, valiantly marshaling Barcelona away from danger and into attack mode throughout the game in a post-match interview urged for caution and focus.
“We’re happy with the result. It was a tough game, as they always are against Atlético. It reinforces us. It was important to get three more points and put some distance between us and them.
“There’s a long way to go still. It’s always important to beat direct rivals. We did our jobs, but we also have to keep doing it.
“The second half was very slow. We couldn’t get out of our end in the first ten minutes of the game, but after they scored we reacted by moving our lines up the field and we were able to control the game until the second goal came.
“They made it very tough to get deep in the second half. They kept bringing the ball back into their own end and we were coming off a big effort in Bilbao. Playing every three days isn’t easy.”
“Defensively we didn’t want to take any risks, although there is always some risk because of their ability on set pieces.” Mascherano told the Barcelona official website.