Dani Alves says Real Madrid are lucky Barcelona found their form so late in the season, claiming the Blaugrana are talented enough to have challenged for La Liga's title.
Barcelona defeated Real Sociedad 1-0 on Thursday but remain 15 points back of Real Madrid at the final stage of the campaign.
They've performed well in recent months, with a 4-0 victory over Real Madrid the highlight of their season.
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What did Alves say about Real Madrid?
"[Real Madrid] are lucky that we woke up so late that we couldn't fight for the title," Alves said to Barca TV. "Now we have to think about another objective.”
On the Real Sociedad win, which ended a two-game losing streak, he said: “In the first half we had control, we did well to pressure them, but then we lowered the intensity and they started pressing us. You have to know how to suffer. In football it’s hard to win, but we won.”
Barcelona face injury concerns
Alves was one of several players to suffer an injury against Real Sociedad, and he attributed the issue to late-season fatigue.
“Physically we are very good, but we’re nearing the end of the season and it costs all of us," he said.
Meanwhile, Blaugrana manager Xavi told reporters: "We've noticed the fatigue.
"[Gerard] Pique, [Ronald] Araujo, Jordi [Alba] with a lot of discomfort, it's a demanding schedule. The commitment It's extraordinary. A long week, much to our regret, but it will be good for us. We've been down emotionally. It's normal. It's news that Barcelona, without playing well, are also competing.
"It was a vital victory. In many phases Real Sociedad deserved more, we have to be honest. In the second half they deserved a draw but we leave with a very important victory."