Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola highlighted the contribution of his defensive trio for victory over Athletic Bilbao.
Guardiola felt Gerard Pique was back to his best on the day.
He said: "We've missed Gerard for the better part of the year. He's back to his necessary playing form. He and Mascherano played a great game.
"Javier (Mascherano) is an almost unimaginable signing. He's the type of player that a manager wouldn't trade for anything, and would never sell. He's a unique signing. We're very pleased to have him. I also want to highlight Adriano's effort."
On the title race, he added: "[Real Madrid are] having a fantastic season. We must work hard, win our matches, and if they lose points, all the better."