Jose Mourinho believes Barcelona are still favourites to win La Liga despite Real Madrid closing the gap to five points on Sunday.
Barca dropped two points with a 1-1 draw away to Sporting Gijon on Saturday, handing Real an opportunity to reduce the deficit in their match at Espanyol.
They lost goalkeeper Iker Casillas to a red card within the first two minutes, but a Marcelo goal and a clean sheet from substitute keeper Antonio Adan on his La Liga debut secured all three points.
“This is an important victory, earned against a strong opponent that has a very good home record,” Mourinho said.
“We even lost our goalkeeper and made another make his debut in La Liga. This also forced us to take off an important player like (Angel) Di Maria, who can always hurt opponents with his speed, and to have only two real substitutions.”
“Too many things were against us and I guess the whole country thought we wouldn’t win, but we did and even deserved to do so with more goals.”
But Mourinho insists reigning champions Barca remain the clear favourites to win their third successive league championship.
“I will not change my discourse now that we are two points closer,” he said.
“Barcelona have a five-point lead and I would like to be in that situation.”
“If I were Barcelona, I would feel comfortable with such a lead. If mathematics say it is possible for us to win we’ll have to believe in that.”
“When I was leading the table in other championships, I used to be asked if I felt any pressure, and I didn’t because I depended on myself. Pressure comes from lagging behind because you cannot afford to make mistakes.”