Pique: Win keeps our hopes alive
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique hailed the resolve of his team after posting a 2-0 win at Real Mallorca last night despite playing for more than half an hour with ten men. Barça kept the pressure on La Liga leaders Real Madrid as a goals from Lionel Messi and Pique secured a seventh straight league win.
Barça played the last 33 minutes a man light after Thiago Alcantara was shown two yellow cards, but the visitors held on to maintain the six-point gap to La Liga's summit. The score was only 1-0 when Alcantara was dismissed, and Pique felt the team performed admirably despite their disadvantage.
"It was very hard to win, especially with ten men," said Pique, whose goal 11 minutes from full-time finally put the match out of Mallorca's reach. "The three points are very important and we deserved them. We tried to control the match; they wanted to equalise, but we played well with ten players. The most important thing is that our title hopes are still alive. What really matters is winning and we've managed to earn a great victory."
The win had temporarily taken the Catalan club to within three points of Madrid, but the capital club's subsequent 5-1 hammering of Real Sociedad saw the gap open up again.
The pressure nevertheless appears to be mounting on Madrid after dropping points in two of their three matches in the past week, and Barça forward Pedro Rodriguez said: "We have to keep on doing our job like we have been, playing our games and winning them. We feel great, with a lot of confidence, and we'll keep fighting until the end."
Reflecting on the match, he added: "It was a complicated match, the pitch wasn't in the best condition, but we're pleased with this victory. The team reacted well after the red card, it's difficult to beat Mallorca because they pressure you a lot and they have players that take advantage space."