Gerard Pique admits Barcelona's confidence got a much-needed boost on Saturday when they beat Real Madrid 3-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Defeat would have left Pep Guardiola's side six points behind Los Blancos, who have a game in hand, but the Catalan club flew to Japan top of the domestic table following the victory in the capital.
And Pique admits it was a much smoother flight knowing the gap at the top of the table was no-more as Barca look to reclaim the FIFA Club World Cup trophy they won back in 2009.
"Those were three important points as we try to win our league. If you lose that game, it would have been tough to get on the plane and fly all the way here so it will be a lot easier on us," Pique told the press.
Javier Mascherano echoed the sentiments of his teammate, admitting that victory over Jose Mourinho's side could be crucial to their La Liga aspirations this term.
However, focus has been shifted to the task at hand, with Qatari outfit Al-Sadd the next side in Barcelona's sights.
"It was an important win, but now we have to focus on this game. We know Al-Sadd is a physical team, they are strong and in this kind of tournament it is difficult to play a team like that," said the Argentine.
Al-Sadd booked their place in the semi-final with victory over African side Esperance, but will be facing a different challenge completely against Messi, Fabregas, Xavi & Co.
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