Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard is confident his players will keep their feet firmly on the ground despite Sunday’s 2-0 victory over Valencia leaving them on the verge of winning a first league title in six years.
“We did our job very well and this win opens the door to the championship,” the Dutchman said.
“But we will only be celebrating when the moment finally comes. The players are delighted with this result because it was a key game but they know how to deal with the euphoria that has been growing throughout the season.”
Two goals in three minutes from Ronaldinho and Eto’o were enough to see off the threat from last season’s champions and with three matches to play, Barcelona are six points clear of nearest rivals Real, who romped to a 5-0 win over Racing Santander.
“I always think that the great players come to the fore at the most important moments and that is exactly what Ronaldinho did,” said Rijkaard.
“It was a superb goal and helped calm the whole team down.
“Eto’o also deserved his as he works so hard on the pitch. But although those two players made the difference today the key thing was that we played as a team.
“The strength of this team is that we have not been drawn into a psychological battle with Real, but that we have always remained focused on ourselves and no one has been able to distract us.”
Club captain Carles Puyol said the players were taking nothing for granted.
“This is an important step on the way to the title, but it is still theoretically possible for it to escape us and we won’t be relaxing until we are champions,” he told reporters.
A victory at struggling Levante next week would guarantee Barcelona a 17th league championship since they have a better record in head-to-head clashes with Real.