Barcelona set a new La Liga record by extending their unbeaten run to 39 games with a 2-1 victory over Valencia on Saturday.
Luis Suarez and Samuel Umtiti were both on target as Barca passed the 38 matches Real Sociedad managed without defeat between 1979 and 1980. Dani Parejo gave Valencia brief hope with an 87th-minute penalty.
The win at the Camp Nou, which was more comfortable than the scoreline suggested, also eases fears that Tuesday’s Champions League collapse against Roma could affect Barcelona’s march to the league title.
Ernesto Valverde’s side are now 14 points clear at the top of the table, before second-placed Atletico Madrid play their game in hand against Levante on Sunday.
Valencia stay third, one point ahead of Real Madrid, who are also in action on Sunday, away to Malaga.“The value of these three points is great, they are three points of gold,” Valverde said.
“The week has been hard and that hard week affects everyone, including the fans.
“We have not lost much but the game the other day was important and you have the feeling that we have disappointed people. You want to repay them.”
There is no doubt Barca’s shock defeat in Italy still lingers, and may still, even if the Catalans secure the first part of an expected domestic double by winning the Copa del Rey next weekend.
Umtiti beat Gabriel Paulista to Coutinho’s corner and while his header was parried by Neto, Valencia’s goalkeeper could only push it in off the post.
Valencia’s belief was dwindling and two acrobatic volleys, from Lionel Messi and then Andres Iniesta, almost added a spectacular third, as the first flew just over and the second was parried by Neto.
There was time for a tense finish after substitute Ousmane Dembele brought down Jose Gaya in the area and Parejo’s feeble penalty squirmed under the body of Ter Stegen. But Barca’s morale-boosting win was never really in doubt.