MADRID, Spain, December 11 – Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho blasted Barcelona as lucky winners on Sunday after the defending champions came back from a goal down to clinch a 3-1 victory in El Clasico.
With the match level at 1-1, after Alexis Sanchez had equalised Karim Benzema’s shock 23-second opener, Barca took the lead when a Xavi drive took a wicked deflection off Marcelo and past Iker Casillas in the Real goal.
Cesc Fabregas then scored with a diving header to secure the three points which put Barcelona top on goal difference although Real have a game in hand.
“Without taking anything away from them, this victory was partly due to luck. The second goal was very lucky,” said Mourinho.
“We had a chance to net an equaliser the following minute. It looked like the ball was in, but it wasn’t. We also had a chance to net a second strike and bring the score up to 3-2, but due to luck, not merit, their goalkeeper cleared a shot by Kaka.
“That’s why I believe luck made a difference, but I do not wish to deprive Barcelona of merit.”
Pep Guardiola was able to celebrate his fourth win at the Bernabeu since becoming Barcelona coach in 2008 and while it was not as convincing as the 6-2 thrashing which his players gave to their rivals in his first season the result will be equally significant.
“I was expecting it to be more difficult for us to create chances. In the summer (when the two met in the domestic Super Cup) we lacked the necessary rhythm which was a big factor but now after the first goal we began to play with our heads,” said Guardiola.
“I thought it was going to be tougher for us although it was a match in which we were going to need some luck.
“Madrid were always going to create chances, that has always happened when I have come here, but overall I am happy with the way the game went.
“I don’t think that this result will cause distress for Madrid, they will recover and continue to be the biggest rival. Nothing is decided now and it wouldn’t be either if we had lost.”
Xavi believes the outcome will spur on Barcelona who are looking for their fourth straight league title.
“I think that we were clearly on top after conceding an early goal which was our own fault. We showed our philosophy and we wanted to play like that knowing that we couldn’t win doing it any other way,” said Xavi.
“There is still a long way to go in the title race and we are still to play them at home but this is a turning point for us and will give us a big boost.”
Mourinho added that the result was disappointing, but that it was not a make-or-break game.
“The players are sad but calm. Before the match we said we had our emotions under control and that this would not change if we went six points ahead or ended up level in the table,” he said.
“We have only lost a game and if we win our next match then we are leaders.”
The Madrid press were not looking for excuses with the sports daily Marca emphasasing that once again Barcelona have beaten Real at their own home while As’ headline read: “The best won.”
In Catalonia a delighted Sport and El Mundo Deportivo both were celebrating.
“Who said this Barca is dead? Who thought that this legendary side would not be able to get a key result at the Bernabeu and open up the championship race,” opined Sport.