Luis Suarez lauded his El Clasico winner as his biggest goal since moving to Barcelona, as the Catalan giants moved four points clear of Real Madrid with a 2-1 win on Sunday.
Suarez controlled Dani Alves’s ball over the top and fired past Iker Casillas just before the hour mark to hand Barca a huge win.
“It is my most important goal for Barca so far, it has an extra meaning given the opponents that it was against,” said Suarez.
The former Liverpool star’s strike came at a crucial juncture in the game as Madrid looked the more likely to go ahead after Cristiano Ronaldo had cancelled out Jeremy Mathieu’s early opener for Barca.
“I tried to take advantage of the space between the defenders as quickly as possible to not give them time to react. Luckily it went in,” added Suarez.
Barca boss Luis Enrique lauded the Uruguayan’s quality and said that is why the club splashed out a club record fee for the 28-year-old despite his chequered past.
“It is clear the goal is something very few players can do. That is why we signed him. We valued him because he is a player that makes the difference,” said Enrique.
“Ever since he arrived we have been very happy with his performances, his commitment and everything he does for the team.”
A third defeat in four games was another huge blow for Madrid, who led the league by four points just three weeks ago.
Coach Carlo Ancelotti was consoled by his side’s much improved display in the first hour of the game compared to their wretched form in recent weeks.
– ‘Mental problem’ –
However, he admitted his side wilted under the pressure of chasing an equaliser for the second time after the break.
“I think it was a mental problem not a physical one. We started looking for more difficult passes and that is why the last half-hour didn’t go like the first-half.
“We are disappointed, but it is better to have better feeling in the way we played. We can have more confidence in the future games in the league and the Champions League.”
Suarez admitted that Barca had played a dangerous game in the first-half, but had far more control once he had fired them in front for a second time.
“We fell into the trap of playing an end-to-end game which they like and we weren’t in control of the game like we normally are. We played very direct and Madrid are very good at pressing.
“We didn’t have the ball in the first half, but we wanted to do better in the second and that’s how it went.”
Suarez, though, insisted Barca can’t take their foot of the gas having seen Madrid blow the same advantage in recent weeks.
“There is a long way to go and the league is very difficult,” he said.
“We need to take advantage of the gap we have against a very strong opponent in Madrid. Like in all leagues, you don’t know what can happen if you relax a little.”
And Ancelotti said his side wouldn’t give up the chase in the remaining 10 games of the season.
“At the moment the league isn’t finished. Barca have an advantage, like we had before. In football anything can happen.”