Barcelona: Real Madrid star Gareth Bale believes his side can still win La Liga after coming from behind to inflict Barcelona's first defeat in 40 games with a 2-1 victory in El Clasico on Saturday.
Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale celebrates after scoring against Barcelona during their Spanish League match at Camp Nou on Saturday. The goal was disallowed due to a foul by Bale. Pic/AFP
Madrid still trail Barca by seven points with seven league games to play, but Bale also highlighted the importance of the victory to Madrid's confidence ahead of their return to Champions League action against Wolfsburg in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.
"I've played in some big derbies and this one is the biggest, even if we were out of the league to beat them is always sweet," Bale added.
56 minute: FC Barcelona's Gerard Pique (left) celebrates his opening goal with teammates. Pic/Getty Images
"It wasn't nice losing 4-0 at home to Barcelona earlier in the season and the main thing we wanted to win was get one up on them, especially in their own back yard. It's all about momentum, pushing into the end of the season and hopefully we can take this performance in to the next. "If we wanted to win the league this was a game we had to win," said the Welshman.
"You never know, football does funny things to teams when you lose and you never know what could happen. All they need is a few bad results, we need a few good ones and we're right back in it. The most important thing was to get the win to build confidence for the rest of the season. There's still the Champions League as well, which we're really looking forward to."
63 minute: Real Madrid's forward Karim Benzema (centre) scores an acrobatic goal for 1-1. Pic/AFP
The win was a huge turnaround for Madrid in Zinedine Zidane's first Clasico in charge after suffering a 4-0 thrashing at home to Barca earlier in the season.
Real were embarrassingly thrown out the Copa del Rey in December for fielding an ineligible player, but Bale believes having played a competition less than Barca has allowed them to arrive fresher to the business end of the season. "Maybe being out of the Copa del Rey helps a little bit, we've had less games. We're feeling strong, confident now, and it's one final push until the end of the season.
85 minute: Cristiano Ronaldo (centre) shoots to score Real Madrid's second goal of the night. Pic/AFP
'In strong position'
Tonight really does put us mentally in a strong position, we can beat anyone on our day and we showed that. "Barcelona have been saying they're the best team and we beat them in their own back yard tonight. We had a game plan, we know we've got speed on the counter-attack so we used that to our advantage. We know obviously if you attack them they're not the best defensive team in the world."