Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola displayed signs that he has yet to fully adapt to life at the German champions following Wednesday’s win over Manchester United, complaining of a passive home crowd and the huge expectations placed upon his team.
The Bavarians remain on course for a second successive treble, having already sewn up the Bundesliga, and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League and German Cup in the Spaniard’s maiden season at the club.
However, they are not playing with quite the same authority as last season, when they dispatched Juventus 4-0 on aggregate in the Champions League quarter-finals and demolished Barcelona 7-0 in the last four under retired coach Jupp Heynckes.
“When you don’t win, people ask why, but this is football. You can’t win all the time but we have won the championship, we are in the Champions League semi-final,” Guardiola told reporters after the 3-1 second leg win at Allianz Arena.
“Everything is not enough in this club.”
Guardiola added that the crowd only got behind his team in the last half an hour, when they came from behind for a win that secured a 4-2 aggregate triumph.
“Maybe we have to play better. After Patrice Evra’s goal (for Manchester United), people stood up and began making a noise. I hope that in the semi-final they do that, we need the public to support us.
“We need everyone together,” he added. “We cannot get to the final without our fans, we need them, we can’t do this alone. We need our fans and I’m certain they will help us.”
Guardiola is also struggling with the language, often mixing German and English in the same sentence and getting his word order wrong. During press conferences, he often has to ask Bayern’s media officer to help with his vocabulary.
Guardiola once again surprised observers with his lineup for Wednesday’s match as he responded to the suspensions of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez, who both play in front of the defence.
The Spaniard pulled a central midfield triangle out of his sleeve, consisting of Thomas Mueller, Toni Kroos and Mario Goetze, who are all attacking players, plus Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben on the flanks and Mario Mandzukic as centre forward.
Kroos often dropped back to join the central defenders when Bayern were playing their way out of defence, while right back Philipp Lahm kept popping up in central midfield.
David Alaba, the left back, rarely got forward in his usual style as he was pegged back by Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia.
In the event, it did not really work. Bayern enjoyed heaps of possession but struggled to create real openings in an uninspiring first hour, when they depended heavily on Robben’s twisting runs.
The game changed significantly in the 65th minute when right-back Rafinha replaced Goetze and Lahm moved to the central midfield role he has played for most of this season and Bayern ended up comfortable winners.
“We knew it would be difficult,” Guardiola said. “The Champions League is the Champions League and Manchester United had the goalkeeper and eight players in the penalty area.
“We were patient and a bit lucky at the end. My players have great heart. This is the best part of the season and we are in an outstanding situation.”
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