Tito Vilanova has reiterated that Barcelona are not yet League champions, despite their dominant form so far this season.
After 16 rounds of action, the Catalans have dropped just two points and, in beating second place Atletico Madrid 4-1 on Sunday evening, find themselves nine points clear at the top.
At the same time, Real Madrid dropped two points at home to Espanyol, to see a 13-point advantage opened up on last year’s champions.
“We’ve won a lot of points, but it hasn’t been easy. We’ve won a few in the last minute and had to battle back to win games and perhaps we won’t be able to do that in the future. I not thinking that La Liga is easy, and it certainly isn’t boring,” reassured the Coach to reporters.
“And if we think that then we shall soon see that it is not. From what Mourinho has said, in my first year [2008/09] we were 12 points ahead and we had to go to the Bernabeu and play for the title. Now, there’s a team that’s only nine points behind us.
“I don’t think that this title is ours to lose. If there is a team that has the capacity to win a lot of points, and they overtake us, then they deserve the title. It happened in 2009 and it could happen again.”
Vilanova admitted that full-back Adriano’s equalising goal was significant in turning the tide in the home team’s favour.
“Atletico are well organised and play with the forwards further back, with lots of space to run in to. I see more merit for Atletico than demerit for us in the first 30 minutes.
“Adriano’s goal was very important, it was very difficult for us at first to break through, and that’s largely due Atletico’s brilliant performance.
“The goal gave us morale and from that point on we carried the initiative of the match. Adriano is playing at a great level.
“The most important thing is for him to feel good. He went through a program to improve his fitness and that’s helped him a lot. His progress has been fantastic.”
The Coach also revealed what he had told the players during the break on Sunday.
“At half-time, I told the players that if they lost then it would be okay. I tried to give a point of relaxation to the players.
“Before beginning the game, we saw the possibility of opening up a gap with Atletico Madrid, and I tried to reassure the players.
“If we had drawn or lost, we had earned the right to fail. What I wanted is that the players were happy.”
Vilanova handed David Villa 12 minutes of action from the bench and was again asked why he didn’t start in the League for the team.
“Naming 11 players to start isn’t easy. I thought we’d do well with the team I sent out and that Villa could help us in the second half.
“I understand that this isn’t easy for him, but we have a lot of talented players, Mascherano and Alves also watched the match from the bench.”