Ernesto Valverde praised his Barcelona players for taking advantage of Real Madrid's 'risks' to record their biggest El Clasico victory at Camp Nou since 2010.

A hat-trick from Luis Suarez plus goals from Philippe Coutinho and Arturo Vidal - his first for the club - saw Barca rise to the top of La Liga, while arch-rivals Madrid plummeted to 9th.

After a dominant first half display, there was a brief concern for the hosts when Marcelo halved the deficit. Valverde commended his players for responding well.


"Madrid had that moment of pride you expect from a big side at the start of the season half. They forced everything into being a one-on-one across the pitch," he said, quoted by Sport.

"They disrupted us and came out strengthened by that fact. They created opportunities but we could hang on their shoulder and when we scored the third, things improved.

"It's one of those results where it can hurt you. I remember when we played against them in the Spanish Super Cup and we suffered a lot, now it's their turn."

Valverde admitted that Madrid's switch to a back three temporarily unsettled his team. "But we reacted so when they took risks, we made them pay for it."


Valverde also sympathised with his opposite number Julen Lopetegui, who is likely to be sacked this week after this latest humiliation.

"I know what it's like to be in a difficult position, when results aren't going your way and everything feels like it is going wrong. It's in these moments where all the focus is on the coach," said the Barca manager.

Barcelona's next fixture is against Cultural Leonesa in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.