Real Madrid lost to Barcelona at the Nou Camp despite a good first half and Barcelona took a four point advantage in La Liga to remain at the top.

First half goals for each side from Mathieu and Ronaldo gave a befitting start to Sundaya s El Clasico. Real Madrid had a good first half and dominated the game for the large parts of the first 45 minutes. Ronaldo struck the cross-bar once, while Balea s goal was disallowed because of a dodgy offside call.

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the press after the defeat and asserted that Real Madrid were the better side for the first 60 minutes but lost their cool after conceding the second goal.

Ancelotti said: a Two really high-level teams came up against each other. For the first hour we were the better side and we played well. We did well until the second goal. Then it turned much more complicated. We’ll take a first half of the match away with us in which we did very well; we showed good control of the play, and were efficient up front and solid at the back.

“In the end we suffered a slight lack of cool heads in our efforts to equalise. We played too many long balls without a clear idea. It was a good hour, and 30 minutes that weren’t so good. We have to continue with this idea because the team has improved a lot. It’s difficult to say whether the best team won.”

The win keeps Barcelona at the top of La Liga with a four point advantage over Real Madrid. Real Madrid, who also had a similar advantage, not so long ago, will have to work doubly hard and not slip up in the remaining 10 matches if they wish to win the league. While Barcelona have made themselves the favourites to bag the league title, Ancelotti believes that anything can happen in football and Real Madrid will give equal priority to La Liga and Champions League.

He said: “The league isn’t over. Barcelona have a lead, as we did before. Anything can happen in football. It’s more difficult, but we’re not going to prioritise the Champions League. The priority is La Liga and the Champions League.”

Cristiano Ronaldo has been at the receiving end of some criticism recently, but on Sunday he showed what he is capable of. The Portuguese had a good game scoring a goal and striking the cross-bar once in the first half.

Speaking about Ronaldo, Ancelotti said: “Cristiano Ronaldo played a very complete match. He worked hard and was always dangerous up front. He shot dangerously, he hit the woodwork… It was the same Cristiano as always.”