Barcelona were not smart enough, says Mascherano
Javier Mascherano believes Barcelona "were not smart enough" after suffering a 2-1 Clasico defeat at the hands of rivals Real Madrid on Saturday.
Barca took the lead approaching the hour-mark at Camp Nou courtesy of Gerard Pique's header but Karim Benzema tied things up six minutes later with a stunning overhead kick.
Sergio Ramos was sent off with seven minutes remaining for a second bookable offence but Cristiano Ronaldo produced a brilliant winner for 10-man Madrid just two minutes later.
Mascherano lamented Barca's inability to hold on in the final stages and rued their missed opportunities in front of goal.
"It's a miserable feeling. We all wanted to win and take a better result, but we were not smart in those last 15 minutes," the Argentina international told reporters.
"We failed to read that we had to control the possession more and not lose balls, and in the end we lost by two counter attacks. They beat us with two counter attacks.
"It's a bitter feeling because we played well for 70 minutes. We didn't take advantage of the best chances."
Madrid's win saw them move to within seven points of Barca with seven games left to play, while Atletico Madrid's 5-1 win over Real Betis earlier in the day kept them in second place, trailing by six points.
"These defeats make you grow and get better. We have to continue like up until now, because we have had a good phase," Mascherano added.
"We have to continue until the end of the season because every game is important. One by one we are all here to fight to win titles."