Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has hit back at criticism in the wake of his side’s Champions League humiliation at the hands of Real Madrid by saying he will not change his approach.
“The team must play according to the ideas of the coach. I am convinced that is the only solution for the club,” insisted Guardiola at a press conference on the eve of Saturday’s trip to Hamburg on the penultimate weekend of the Bundesliga season.
“I didn’t come here to change German football culture anymore than that of Bayern. But when I speak to my players on a daily basis I can’t talk about ideas in which I don’t believe,” he added.
Bayern did not lose a single Bundesliga game prior to securing the title in record time at the end of March and they still have a German Cup final to look forward to against Borussia Dortmund on May 17.
However, they were found wanting in a 4-0 defeat to Real Madrid on Tuesday in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final tie as the reigning champions bowed out 5-0 on aggregate.
In the wake of that defeat, the former Barcelona coach appeared to hint that he didn’t have the right players for his style of football, but Guardiola cooled suggestions that he will attempt to overhaul the squad in the summer. “It is with this system and these players that we achieved plenty of success this season. And we still have a final to play,” he said. “After the Cup final, I will speak to ‘Kalle’ (chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge) and Matthias (Sammer, the sporting director). But we would have done just the same if we had qualified for the Champions League final.”
Guardiola added that the remaining Bundesliga matches against struggling Hamburg and Stuttgart must be used to regain battered confidence ahead of the meeting with Dortmund at Berlin’s Olympiastadion.
“The players need to tell themselves that they are still playing well. It is important ahead of the final,” he said, before suggesting that Spanish playmaker Thiago Alcantara might be able to return from a knee injury in time to sit on the bench against Dortmund.
Guardiola also voiced his relief at seeing defender Holger Badstuber back in full training more than a year after suffering a serious knee injury of his own that has required four operations.
“I am delighted for Holger. But he needs time. He will have to slowly work his way back into the team next season. We know how important he is to the club.”