David Moyes has spoken about his happiest night as Real Sociedad manager after watching his team inflict a narrow 1-0 defeat on Barcelona on Sunday night.
Jordi Alba slotted past his team-mate Claudio Bravo after just two minutes of play a Xabi Prieto cross from the right of the goal area as Sociedad held off a second-half onslaught from substitute Lionel Messi and Neymar to secure their third win under the Scotsman.
“It is the happiest night since I arrived in San Sebastian. We worked very hard. The players showed courage and defended incredibly,” said Moyes, 51.
The win saw ‘The Royals’ move up to 13th in the Primera Division table as well as sealing their status as La Liga giant killers, having won against the top trio of Real, Barca and champions Atletico Madrid at home under three different coaches.
Goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli and the Sociedad defence worked tirelessly to keep the Catalans’s attack in check and, with victory done and dusted; Moyes says his focus is to help the side continue with the same level of performance.
“This team has shown it is capable in the big games against the best teams in the league and now we must show the same capability to win the other games. At home, for example, we have let a lot of points slip away,” Moyes noted.
“We defended well tonight and that is what we have to do in all the games, but in other games when we don’t have to defend so much we also have to pass the ball and attack better.”
Moyes also defended Barca’s coach Luis Enrique’s decision to start Messi and Neymar from the bench as the South American duo had only arrived back in Spain on Friday after an extended Christmas break.
Moyes said: “The best players can’t always play at their best level in every match. The biggest games for Barcelona are still to come and in that sense I think Luis Enrique made the right decision. I was hoping this would happen, that some of their most important players wouldn’t start, and we were prepared for that.”
Second-placed Barcelona remain a point behind leaders Real Madrid, 2-1 losers away to Valencia earlier in the day, but Atletico closed in on the leading duo following a 3-1 home win over Levante on Saturday.