Real Madrid’s 2-1 defeat at Valencia has lifted the mood in Catalonia following a pretty miserable few days for Barcelona.
Last week they suffered an excruciating 4-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.
And Sunday’s 2-1 win over Leganes was spoiled somewhat by Lionel Messi’s muted celebration after his late winner.
Los Blancos had the chance to open up a four-point lead over the Blaugrana when they travelled to 15th-placed Valencia on Wednesday evening but Zinedine Zidane’s team were humbled by a 2-1 loss which keeps Barca firmly in the title race.
It will take a miracle, however, to overcome the deficit Barcelona face in the Champions League.
They were completely outplayed by the French champions, who already have one foot in the quarter-finals of the elite competition.
“I think this makes PSG a threat in the competition,” former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand told BT Sport, via BBC Sport.
“Mentally they will go on again and they will believe now they are capable of winning this tournament by beating one of the best teams.”
But as much as Angel di Maria, Edinson Cavani and Julian Draxler flourished, Barca’s front three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar was anonymous.
It was simply a bad day at the office for the trio. Barca managed just one shot on target and PSG’s defence did a terrific job of stifling Messi and co.
Barcelona will, of course, give it everything they’ve got in the return leg on March 8. The Spanish club won their last Champions League game at the Camp Nou 4-0 – against Borussia Monchengladbach in December – and there’s always hope with Messi around.
But how do Barca’s players get in the mindset when they know the odds are heavily stacked against them?
Messi has a clever way – completely forget about the 4-0 defeat.
Messi’s hilarious assessment one week on
The Argentine visited Egypt this week to promote Hepatitis C treatment but there was only one topic journalists wanted to discuss with him – that loss to PSG.
Yet when asked to comment on the game, he responded, via Mundo Deportivo: “I do not remember.”
Right. But the match was only played last week, Leo?
Of course, the 29-year-old simply didn’t want to discuss one of the heaviest defeats of his career. And how could he discuss it if he couldn’t even remember it?
He’s a genius off the pitch as well as on it.