Ernesto Valverde reveals Barcelona relief after ending Anoeta 'curse'
Ernesto Valverde urged Barcelona to keep their feet on the ground after they came from behind to beat Real Sociedad 4-2 on Sunday, extending their unbeaten streak in all competitions to 29.
Willian Jose and Juanmi had given La Real a two-goal lead, but a brace from Luis Suarez and goals from Paulinho and Lionel Messi helped Barca end an 11-year wait for a league win at Anoeta.
The three points restored their nine-point lead over Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga, with Valencia and Real Madrid 11 and 19 points back, respectively.
However, with Barca's win at La Real marking the halfway point in the campaign, Valverde believes it's still too early to say the title race is run.
"There's distance [between Barca and the rest]," Valverde said in his postgame news conference. "We've only dropped six points in the first half of the season -- the numbers are good.
"It's good to have that gap but we still have the second half of the season to go. We never rule any of our rivals out. If I was in their place, I wouldn't give up on La Liga and I don't think they will.
"Maybe Madrid see other clubs closer to them, but I don't think anyone will give up on catching us despite the difference. I wouldn't."
Barca -- who are now the only unbeaten side in Europe's top five leagues after Manchester City lost to Liverpool -- looked set to see their wait for a first league win at Anoeta since 2007 go on as they fell 2-0 behind in San Sebastian.
Paulinho dragged them back into the game with his eighth goal of the season, though, before a brilliant brace from Suarez, who took his tally to eight goals in his last six league games, completed the turnaround.
Messi's 23rd goal of the season in all competitions, via a stunning free kick, wrapped up the points and ended Barca's Anoeta nightmare.
"I am happy that we've got rid of the [Anoeta] curse," Valverde added. "Above all because of how we did it, coming back from two goals down. That's the best thing about it.
"We believed in ourselves and were able to come back at a ground we've not won at [in La Liga] in a number of years against an opponent that plays really good football.
"La Real played extremely well, they dominated us in the first phase of the game. I thought we started well, actually, but the first goal did a bit of damage to us and we started making mistakes. They grew from there.
"We pressed more after the break and began to turn things around. As the game went on, I thought we were the better side but it was a difficult situation at a difficult ground."
Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.