Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane hailed a perfect day for the Liga leaders after they capitalised on slip-ups from Barcelona and Sevilla with a 3-0 win over Real Sociedad.
Sevilla had captain Nico Pareja sent off in the second minute before falling to a spirited 3-1 defeat at Espanyol, while Barcelona were held 1-1 at Real Betis amid goal-line controversy.
Madrid initially appeared ill-equipped to cash in as mistakes stained their work and in-form Sociedad were encouraged by an irritable Santiago Bernabeu crowd.
But Mateo Kovacic's first La Liga goal, on the end of a cute Cristiano Ronaldo pass, broke the deadlock and it was 2-0 with roles reversed six minutes into the second period.
Substitute Alvaro Morata added a third after Sociedad had defender Inigo Martinez sent off, leaving Zinedine Zidane's men four points clear at the summit with a game in hand.
"We knew we could move away from Sevilla and Barcelona, so it's a perfect day for us," France centre-back Varane was quoted by Marca.
"We are very pleased because the three points were important for us.
"The balance has been good, we can improve the pressure. We have to keep improving the performances."
Ronaldo and Varane's countryman Karim Benzema were among the players singled out for criticism from the stands before Madrid took a 37th-minute lead, although the 23-year-old maintains the boo-boys represent a minority of fans.
"I heard more applause than whistles," he said.
"We know that they demand a lot and we must be prepared for that. We want to win La Liga for them."
Midfielder Casemiro was on the end of the robust challenge that earned Martinez a second booking and he conceded Madrid had to battle through some heavy weather early on.
"We had to try to come out strong from the beginning, we knew that La Real were going to be difficult. They are fifth in the classification," he said.
"We had to work during the week and luckily we have been effective.
"It is an important day for us because we won more of an advantage over our pursuers.
"We must not worry about Sevilla or Barcelona. If we win every game we will end up being champions."