Wednesday 26 October 2016

Pep: We won't go all out to defeat Barcelona

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola during training
Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola during training

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has no plans to go straight on the attack and score quickly against Barcelona tonight as they look to overturn a 3-0 Champions League semi-final, first leg defeat.

Bayern, who have lost their last four matches in all competitions for the first time since 1991, will instead try to control possession and defend against a team that has scored 25 goals in their last seven outings.

“We have to be patient and cannot do everything in the first  15-20 minutes,” the Spaniard said.

“First we have to play football and see what happens. Maybe we can then score a goal and create an atmosphere in the stadium.

“No one says it will be easy to score goals. We will try to overturn the deficit with control of the game.

“We came back both against Shakhtar Donetsk and Porto (in earlier rounds).”

Bayer drew 0-0 in Ukraine in the last 16 before crushing Shakhtar 7-0 in the return. The Germans then lost 3-1 at Porto before demolishing them 6-1 in Munich to reach the semi-finals.

But three goals in 17 minutes late in the game in Barcelona last week put Bayern firmly on the back foot for the second leg.

“We are 3-0 behind a top team, the best team in Europe the last 15-20 years,” said Guardiola, who won 14 titles in four years as Barca coach until 2012.

“We have to defend. I know how people in Germany think. But first we have defend, not just sprint forward because Barca have outstanding counter-attacking players.

“We have to focus on our game plan, have more possession of the ball than them and see what we can get out of it.”

Five-time European champions Bayern, who last won the trophy in 2013, also lost in the semi-finals last season against Real Madrid. They will be without injured wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery as well as defender David Alaba among others.

“We had to make do two or three months without them,” Guardiola said. “Other clubs have more balanced squads at the moment.

“That’s the situation but if we are eliminated it won’t be because of these players.”

Guardiola is determined to honour his contract with the Bundesliga champions.

Reports in England over the weekend claimed the former Barcelona tactician had already agreed terms to replace Manuel Pellegrini as coach of Manchester City at the end of the season.

But Guardiola, whose current deal expires in the summer of 2016, has brushed aside such speculation and claims he has no plans to leave the Allianz Arena any time soon.

He said: “I have a contract and I will stay here at Bayern. That’s all.”

Guardiola joined Bayern in the summer of 2013 after enjoying incredible success with Barcelona, first as a player and then as a coach.

The 44-year-old won 14 titles – including two Champions League crowns – in a trophy-laden four-year stint at the helm of the Catalan giants.

And Guardiola, who is considered by many of his peers as the world’s best coach, has followed his success at Barca by winning back-to-back Bundesliga titles.

But despite that, and the speculation that City want him, Guardiola is unwilling to talk himself up.

“To be the best coach in the world means sh*t,” the former Spain international said. “I’ve said it a million times. I win because I have great players.”

Bayern won their third straight Bundesliga title last month but have suffered a drop in form since and Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Augsburg was their fourth straight loss in all competitions.

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