Josep Guardiola has insisted that Manchester United will be no pushovers despite Bayern’s favourite tag.
Manchester United and Bayern Munich come into this game on the back of highly contrasting fortunes so far this season. Both clubs underwent managerial changes with David Moyes and Pepe Guardiola taking over title winning squads in the summer, but both these new managers have had if contrasting success so far in their new jobs. While Guardiola has turned the treble winning Bayern side into a more ruthless entity, who have already wrapped up the domestic title and are looking to become the first team to defend their Champions League crown since AC Milan, David Moyes’ Manchester United are struggling to get into the top-six of the Premier League at the moment.
But Bayern manager Pep Guardiola has insisted that despite their current situation, Manchester United remain one of the toughest opponents in Europe and he has talked about the great honour of making an appearance at Old Trafford after 20 long years.
“We are up against Manchester United and they are one of the most important clubs in the world, regardless of their current situation. Just look back at the last ten to 15 years under Sir Alex [Ferguson]. They still have very good players. It is a great honour for me to be here again in Manchester – the last time was about 20 years ago [a 2-2 group stage draw in 1994]. I hope we can produce a good performance.” – The Bayern Munich manager said.
Guardiola also stressed on the importance of the Champions League as he remembered the German club’s last back to back European trophy wins under the legendary Franz Beckenbauer.
“There are eight teams in the quarter-finals and every one of the eight coaches, not to mention every player, wants to win this title. For me, it is not the most important title of the season but it is the most prestigious. We know how important it is for the club, the players, the coach, to compete and try to win this. It is not easy, but Bayern are going to try. The last time [they defended the European Cup] it was ’76, with Franz Beckenbauer’s team.” – He added.
The former Barcelona manager accepted the fact that his team are the favourites on paper to win this tie against Manchester United, but was also quick to point out that the English club still have enough quality in the squad to get a good result.
“As a coach it is important to keep going, to maintain what we did last season and try to achieve that again. To do it against a team like Manchester United is an honour, a real honour. Coaches around the world don’t like being called favourites before the game, but I can’t argue. I have to accept it because last season Bayern won everything and this season we have won the title with seven games to spare.
“But I know deep in my heart which [Manchester United] team we are going to face. Maybe they have not had a good season in the Premier League, but in the Champions League they beat Leverkusen [5-0], they have won many important games. But when I see [Wayne] Rooney, when I see [Rio] Ferdinand, when I see [Nemanja] Vidić, when I see Ryan Giggs, when I see Chicharito [Javier Hernández], [Danny] Welbeck … I know them all too well.” – Guardiola said in his pre-match interview.