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The Blaugrana boss has praised the resolve of his players after a much improved second-half display that saw them come close to overturning a two-goal deficit with 10 men.

Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova has hailed the character of his side, despite a 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in the second leg of the Spanish Supercopa on Wednesday.

A poor start for the Catalans saw them fall two goals behind early on, before Adriano was shown a straight red card to leave the club on the brink of defeat after only half an hour.

However, Lionel Messi reduced the arrears with a free kick on the stroke of halftime, and Barca recovered to give Madrid a run for its money during the second half, an improvement that was not lost on the coach.

"The first half was not like us, but the second half was one of my proudest nights with the team," Vilanova told reporters after the match. "With 10 men we controlled the game and had five clear chances. We never sit back, defend with 10 and try to hit on the counter. With our players, we always play the same way and did so in the second half."

Vilanova also offered his compliments to Madrid for their victory, saying: "I would like to congratulate Madrid on winning the [Supercopa] title."

In the 221st meeting between the two sides, Los Blancos' triumph sees them move ahead of Barcelona 88-87 in the all-time ranking for Clasico victories.

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