Real Madrid defender Pepe taunted Barcelona after the Catalan side’s loss at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.

The Portuguese claimed that the post-match confrontation of Barca players with the referee was unwarranted and out of character for a side that have become renowned for their free-flowing and attractive football, rather than tough-tackling approach and "ugly" tactics.

Victor Valdes and his companions protested to the match officials as their late penalty appeals were waved away and Madrid held on to claim a morale-boosting 2-1 win over their fiercest rivals ahead of this week's Champions League second leg encounter with Manchester United.

Pepe said: "I saw Barça in situations I would never have expected.

"The players surrounded the referee at the end of the game to challenge him. It's an ugly side that we're not used to.

"They are upset by losing games to us. We have won two big games on the trot but what really matters is the way we played and the opposition we faced, and this will spur us on for the clash with Manchester United."

Pepe was full of praise for his team having recorded back-to-back wins against the Catalan giants. And the aggressive centre-back believes Los Blancos can take great encouragement from the win ahead of their trip to Old Trafford in mid-week.

"We are going through a good patch," said Pepe. "We have showed we are a team and fight to the death.

"We have won two very important matches against a tough rival by playing well, and this has boosted our confidence in the count-down to the game against Manchester United.

"We are obviously very pleased and now we should rest up for Tuesday's tie."

The ongoing debate as to who is the best player in the world will continue to rumble on, but Pepe is firmly behind his compatriot and club teammate, Cristiano Ronaldo. 

"He's the best player in the world and he's always a cut above the rest," Pepe added.

Ronaldo and Pepe face United on Tuesday at Old Trafford in a do-or-die clash, as the Champions League reaches the latter stages.


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