Pep Guardiola praised his players’ mental resolve after Barcelona defeated Real Madrid 1-0 to leapfrog their rivals to the head of La Liga.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic came off the bench to score the winner on 56 minutes when he volleyed home Dani Alves’ cross.
The Catalans then had to play with ten men for almost 30 minutes after Sergi Busquests was sent off for a second bookable offence following a handball.
Afterwards Guardiola said the focus now turns to Wednesday’s game at Xerez as the Catalans seek to extend their lead at the top.
“We won one game and that is it – we have another test coming up immediately,” he said.
“Our ambition is to be champions and we want to win again on Wednesday.
“We were very strong mentally. We showed enough character to win at home. Madrid are a very good team, there is no doubt about that.
“They had their chances and they made life difficult but we tried to maintain possession.
“I expected Madrid to be aggressive early on. They are gelling together now and I think that they played well.
“Sometimes you play better and you win sometimes you do not but you still win. With ten men we pressured and attacked and had a few chances.”
Guardiola singled out the performance of Carles Puyol
“He was relentless,” he said. “It seems like he is still 20 years old.”
Real coach Manuel Pellegrini felt his side deserved more from the game. Cristiano Ronaldo was denied by a fine save from Victor Valdes and the Portugal winger also headed just over.
Pellegrini said: “The result does not correspond to what took place. (We deserved) at least a draw. We had two very clear chances with Marcelo and we made good counter-attacks. In the second half, they had the goal and a good chance with Messi but we had several opportunities.
“Barca are always difficult opponents at home but they came up against a good Madrid tonight.”