Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola was delighted with their thumping victory over big spending Malaga yesterday. David Villa struck twice for the Catalans - with Andres Iniesta and Pedro also on the scoresheet - as Barca thrashed Malaga 4-1 to rack up a record points total at the league's halfway stage.

After 19 games, Barca have 52 points, beating their previous record of 50 - set in Guardiola's first season in charge.

"It's an impressive total," Guardiola said after the match.

"When we got 50 points two years ago, I didn't expect us to beat that, but these players have done it - they've been outstanding."

Barca saw title rivals Real Madrid slip up at bottom-of-the-table Almeria - they drew 1-1 - earlier in the evening, meaning the league leaders will start the second half of the championship with a four-point advantage over Jose Mourinho's side.

But that, says Guardiola, means little at this stage.

"It's a ridiculous distance at this stage of the competition," he said. "They (Madrid) dropped points today, but that could happen to us too.

"We could drop points at any ground; it could happen against Racing (Santander) next week or against Hercules.

"There is a long, long way to go and four points is nothing because Madrid are a very strong team."

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