Javier Mascherano has admitted that Barcelona were not smart enough in their Classico defeat to Real Madrid on Saturday night.
Karim Benzema’s acrobatic strike cancelled out Gerard Pique’s headed opener, but with Sergio Ramos sent off with seven minutes remaining, Cristiano Ronaldo’s late winner left the Nou Camp stunned.
With Barca’s advantage at the top of La Liga trimmed to six points, Mascherano admitted it was a ‘miserable’ night as they only had themselves to blame.
He said: “It’s a bitter feeling because we played well for 70 minutes. We didn’t take advantage of the best chances.
“We failed to read that we had to control the possession more and not lose balls, and in the end we lost by two counter-attacks. They beat us with two counter-attacks.
“It’s a miserable feeling. We all wanted to win and take a better result, but we were not smart in those last 15 minutes.”
Despite their first defeat in 40 matches, Barcelona remain strong favourites to retain their title. They sit seven points ahead of Real and six above Atletico Madrid, who thrashed Real Betis 5-1.
Argentina international Mascherano added: ‘These defeats make you grow and get better. We have to continue like up until now, because we have had a good phase.
“We have to continue until the end of the season because every game is important. One-by-one we are all here to fight to win titles.”
Barca now turn their attention back to the Champions League, with a home first leg against Atletico in the quarter-finals coming up on Tuesday night.