After having been defeated in San Mamés and losing the leadership in La Liga, Los Blancos had gone through a really tough week. A good performance against Schalke 04 was needed, but only Ronaldo's predatory nose saved Real Madrid from the fiasco that being eliminated of the Champions League would have been.
The attacks from the press were so fierce that president Florentino Pérez had to come out and looked for a direct fight with some journalists, redirecting the criticism towards himself and, thus, relieving that burden from the team (a gesture that I'm told gained him the applause from a big group of fans in Real Madrid's basketball court yesterday).
There was a tense atmosphere in the Bernabéu last night. Some whistles were heard when the speaker announced the lineups, and only the chants from the "Grada Fans" supported a team that needed the affection of the crowds. The context seemed convenient for another sloppy performance by our players, but they managed to show a great degree of professionalism through the first half that served them to secure the three points and prove that there are reasons to believe that a victory in El Clásico is possible.
It is true that Ronaldo is frustrated, that Luka Modric and Sergio Ramos are not ready yet for a deadly 90-minute long competition and that our strikers' accuracy is not the best right now, but Carlo Ancelotti has a whole week to get his players in shape, both physically and mentally, to conquer the Camp Nou.
The culés are in the middle of a positive streak, but their game is not as good as many people claim, and this is just camouflaged by the great effectiveness of their MSN trio. Carletto will need to raise his eyebrow once again to decipher Barcelona's attacking system and make his players believe that they can stop their onslaughts and beat their not so brilliant defence. And we, as fans, should believe he can do it, because it would not be the first time.