Madrid – “El Clasico’’ may have finished goalless, but Real Madrid were left emboldened by their superb performance at Barcelona and will hope to build on the momentum now.
They want to start this when they host Athletic Bilbao on Sunday in their final La Liga game of 2019.
Zinedine Zidane’s side became the first team to take points off Barca at the Camp Nou this season but were left feeling short-changed by the draw.
That was after dominating the play and having two strong penalty kick appeals turned down.
Real Madrid are now unbeaten in 12 games in all competitions and have come into their own against the toughest opponents.
Wednesday’s performance ranks alongside their 2-2 draw with Paris St-Germain (PSG) as their best of the season.
“We are in great form and we are also in good shape physically. It’s a shame that the year is about to end, we would like it to not stop,” said Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos.
Barca, meanwhile, gave an uncharacteristically shy account of themselves.
The onus will now be on them to produce an emphatic response at home to Alaves on Saturday after a match which has further harmed coach Ernesto Valverde’s reputation.
Newspaper Marca said the match, the first “Clasico’’ to finish goalless in 17 years, had “caused a lot of damage” to Valverde.
He is in his third season in charge and is struggling to get his immensely talented side to play as they know how.
Even though Barca are still top of the standings, leading Real Madrid only by goal difference, this has been a difficult season for them.
They are on a downward trend after looking utterly superior to their rivals in the previous two campaigns.
Valverde’s defence of his side’s uninspiring display indicated he might not be capable of giving the team the shake-up they need to win the title race.
“Barca-Real Madrid matches should be evenly matched. They (Real Madrid) are a great team, a powerful force. So, it’s normal that they made life tough for us,” said the coach, who saw his side thrash Real Madrid 5-1 last year and beat them 3-0 away in his debut season.
“It’s not normal that we put five goals past them or finish 17 points above them, even though that’s what has happened in recent years.”