Lionel Messi has said Barcelona’s big-game mindset proved crucial in the Clasico victory over Real Madrid on Sunday.
Messi scored a hat-trick, including two penalties, as Barca won 4-3 to move a point behind Madrid.
The forward’s first goal made him the all-time leading scorer in Clasico matches.
Madrid are second in the table behind Atletico Madrid on the head-to-head record with Barca in third.
Speaking to reporters after the match Messi downplayed suggestions he won the game individually, insisting it was a team effort.
“On a personal level things are going very well for me but I have to point out that the whole team had an extraordinary game,” Messi said.
“This team always rises to the big occasions. We like playing in these types of games,” the Argentina international continued.
“We have to keep going. The League is very tough and we haven’t got many games left. We can’t afford to fail.
“It’s an important win. We’re back in the race again and we have to keep going. We can’t make any more mistakes.”
The title race could come to a climax on the final day of the season when Barca host Atletico at Camp Nou, a match Messi agreed could be decisive.
“Atletico are a very tough rival and they have had a fabulous season. We’ll be trying for a good result at home against them,” he added.