By 90Min
January 15, 2018

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has urged his players to maintain their focus following his side's 4-2 win over Real Sociedad on Sunday evening. 

Goals from Paulinho, a Luis Suarez brace and a stunning Lionel Messi free-kick saw Blaugrana complete a sensational comeback after finding themselves 2-0 just after the half-hour mark, courtesy of the hosts' Willian Jose and Juanmi. 

The result re-establishes the Catalonians lead over Atletico Madrid to nine points at the top of La Liga, while seeing the remainder of the chasing pack, Valencia and Real Madrid, further back with an 11 and 19-point deficit, respectively.  

Barcelona's victory also marked the halfway point of the season, however Valverde has insisted the title race is far from over. 

"There's distance [between Barca and the rest]", the Spaniard said in his post-match press conference, as quoted by ESPN"We've only dropped six points in the first half of the season - the numbers are good.

"It's good to have that gap but we still have the second half of the season to go. We never rule any of our rivals out. If I was in their place, I wouldn't give up on La Liga and I don't think they will.

"Maybe Madrid see other clubs closer to them, but I don't think anyone will give up on catching us despite the difference. I wouldn't."

Blaugrana's comeback also marked a moment in history for the Catalonians, with the visitors clinching their first victory at the Anoeta Stadium in the league since May 2007. 

"I am happy that we've got rid of the [Anoeta] curse", Valverde added. 

"Above all because of how we did it, coming back from two goals down. That's the best thing about it.

"We believed in ourselves and were able to come back at a ground we've not won at [in La Liga] in a number of years against an opponent that plays really good football.

"La Real played extremely well, they dominated us in the first phase of the game. I thought we started well, actually, but the first goal did a bit of damage to us and we started making mistakes. They grew from there.

"We pressed more after the break and began to turn things around. As the game went on, I thought we were the better side but it was a difficult situation at a difficult ground."

Barcelona's hectic schedule since their return to action following the short winter break now continues, as they take on close neighbours Espanyol in the Copa del Rey quarter-final on Wednesday evening. 

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