Guardiola revels in rout of bitter rivals

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The Independent Football

Coach Pep Guardiola described Barcelona's 6-2 rout of bitter rivals Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu as one of the best days of his footballing life.

The Catalan side moved seven points clear of Real after success in Saturday evening's El Clasico following a devastating performance which included goals from Lionel Messi (2), Thierry Henry (2), Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique.

"It is not easy to win at the Bernabeu and winning like this against a team of Real's calibre is incredible. It is a memorable night," said Guardiola.

"It is one of the happiest days of my footballing life. I am so happy because we have made a lot of people happy. We have taken a giant step towards the title and are so close now.

"There was only one way to approach this game and that was to be brave and try to win the match by attacking.

"We went behind and then had to go forward and create some chances which we did.

"I have to give credit to Real because they never give up and only a team of their stature could prevent us from winning this league."

Meanwhile, the club’s president, Joan Laporta, is refusing to get carried away despite the thrashing.

"We need to maintain our respect for our rivals," he said. "Above all I want to congratulate our players. I am sure that there will be celebrations in Catalonia and all around Spain.

"I am proud because we won while being faithful to our style of play. What is certain is that we are closer to winning the league.

“But I do not want to think about titles because we must respect our rivals and we have a very difficult (Champions League) game coming up in London (against Chelsea)."

Despite the result Real coach Juande Ramos refused after the match to concede defeat in the title race.

If Real had beaten Barca they would have cut the gap at the top of the table to just one point but, despite the humiliating setback, Ramos is still refusing to throw in the towel.

"There is an unpleasant taste in the mouth because we have lost the game and most of our chance to win the league," said the former Sevilla and Spurs coach.

"Barcelona are a level above us. They were superior, but their first goals came from defensive mistakes and they took advantage.

"We then had to chase the game, and that contributed to the excessive scoreboard.

"From Tuesday onwards we must be professional and think of the league and fight for the league until it is mathematically impossible."