Madrid: FC Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola graciously congratulated Real Madrid after Madrid had beaten his side 2-1 in the Camp Nou Stadium on Saturday night thanks to goals from Sami Khedira and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The win leaves Madrid 7 points clear of Barca with just four matches to play and means they are virtually champions elect in Spain.

While Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has continually looked for excuses and blamed referees when Barca have beaten his side in the past, speaking after Saturday's game Guardiola showed a far more sporting attitude than his victorious rival. ( "I want to congratulate Madrid for their victory and the league that they are going to win," said Guardiola, who then looked at his side's performance.

"We lost some passes at the start of the game and we dropped off after Madrid scored their first goal (through Sami Khedira). In the second half we had another attitude. I think we played well and they didn't cause us much danger," he said.

"I think we created more chances than on other days, but we have played a lot of matches since August and this can happen, even more so when you look at our rival. I don't have the feeling of being inferior to Madrid, except in the closing minutes," commented Guardiola.

Meanwhile Mourinho continued with his policy of not speaking to the press, leaving the post match talking to his assistant Aitor Karanka, who highlighted the fact that they still needed six points to assure the title.

Karanka highlighted Madrid's positive attitude to the game and said that the players were all happy with the result and that the supporters were delighted with the work the team had done.

(Agencies)