FC Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola paid special praise to the club's past heroes for "laying the foundations" of his team's 5-0 Liga triumph over Real Madrid CF on Monday night.
The Catalan side leapfrogged José Mourinho's outfit at the top of the domestic standings with a spectacular performance capped by goals from Xavi Hernández, Pedro Rodríguez, David Villa (2) and Jeffren at Camp Nou – emulating the result achieved by Johan Cruyff's so-called Dream Team in 1994.
"Johan Cruyff and [coaching assistant] Carles Rexach were the ones who started us on the road to this style of play and nobody who follows in those footsteps can betray what those two began," Guardiola explained.
The 39-year-old registered his fifth straight victory over the Merengues since becoming Barcelona coach in 2008, yet warned that with a significant part of the season remaining his charges must continue to be wary of the threat posed by their second-placed rivals.
"We may have moved two points above Madrid but they are still a great team," he said. "
The level of both sides is still very high although we were better than them tonight and the manner in which we won will stay with us for a long time. It gave the same sort of satisfaction as that 6-2 win [at the Santiago Bernabéu in 2009]."
His unbeaten start to his Madrid reign now in tatters, Mourinho insisted his team were feeling "no sort of humiliation" after their first competitive reverse since 10 April – also against the Blaugrana in the Liga. "This is the worst league defeat I've ever had to endure but we're looking at a Barcelona team that is the finished product while we are not," he stressed.
"This wasn't one of those losses where you are left thinking that maybe you deserved to win or that the referee had a bad game or that you had bad luck – no. One team played to their absolute best and the other played badly.
I just hope this doesn't affect my players in a negative way. I told them now is not the time to cry but to come back and work even harder to win the next game."
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