Barcelona's weary collection of international globe-trotters produced a workmanlike performance to beat Valladolid 1-0 on Saturday with Samuel Eto'o scoring the only goal.
Barcelona remain six points ahead of Real Madrid, who beat Malaga 1-0, in the race for the Spanish title with nine games left to play.
Having lost three out of four matches following World Cup and international breaks this season, Pep Guardiola's Barcelona team knew they could not afford to drop points. Barcelona began the game with Lionel Messi and Thierry Henry on the bench but while they controlled the game they struggled to create openings.
That was until Eto'o coolly beat the Valladolid keeper shortly before half-time with a match-winning lob. The second half was more even and Messi and Dani Alves were introduced to bolster a Barcelona team whose next mission is a home Champions League quarter-final first leg clash with Bayern Munich in midweek.
"Valladolid made the game difficult for us by creating a high tempo and this was on top of the ten days away with international teams," said Guardiola.
"The players responded well and you have to value who we were up against and these three points are very important.
Juventus draw Sergio Pellissier scored a hat-trick to put a huge dent in Juventus's title chances as Chievo earned a 3-3 draw on Sunday. Vincenzo Iaquinta's strike 11 minutes from time seemed to have earned the Old Lady of Turin a vital win but Pellissier struck in injury time.