Barca boss Xavi delighted with 'statement win' over Atletico Madrid

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez believes his side sent out a warning to their title contenders with victory over Atletico Madrid on Sunday night.

Barca prevailed thanks to Ousmane Dembele's first-half strike to open up a three-point lead at the top of the La Liga table after Real Madrid slipped up at Villareal.

The Blaugrana boss was delighted with his side's performance and believes it makes a big statement of their title credentials.

"I liked the first half an hour," he said of the win. "The game was under control. The goal came from creating a numerical advantage through the middle.

"These are three golden points. We knew how to suffer (after). It's important to have kept a clean sheet. Without playing that well, we got the three points. It was a tough game but a big win.

"It's not just three points, it's a huge morale boost. I am proud of the team. We have made a statement that we are candidates to win the league."

Barça almost came unstuck at the end but defender Ronald Araujo produced a fine goal-line clearance to keep out Antoine Griezmann.

"Araujo is an extraordinary defender, just like Balde, Kounde, Christensen..." Xavi said. "He's a leader."

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