Bayern Munich must be patient in attack and wary of defensive tactics of Manchester United in their Champions League quarter-final, coach Pep Guardiola said.
Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has described their Champions League quarter-final second-leg clash with Manchester United as a ‘life or death match’. Holders Bayern have a slight edge after a 1-1 draw in Manchester last week but Guardiola warned of the English team’s “defensive tactics and their appetite for quick breaks”.
“I think United will be again waiting for us at the back. They will be waiting deep, deep in their own half,” the Spaniard told reporters on Tuesday.
“English teams defend and then wait for the quick break. David Moyes also has eight, nine players at the back. They are waiting for mistakes, set pieces and breaks.”
Bayern go into Wednesday’s game without a win in three matches, having also lost their first league game of the season at the weekend. And whilst defending champions Bayern are firm favourites to progress, Guardiola is clearly taking United very seriously.
“That is why we have to be disciplined. We are playing at home and that is important and we know exactly what to do to attack well.”
The Spanish coach is also aware of what is at stake. “It’s a final, a life or death match,” Guardiola said.
Asked if he felt Rooney’s injured toe would keep him out of the second leg at the Allianz Arena and what effect his absence might have on a tie currently locked at 1-1, Guardiola could not help but smile.
“He will play, 100 percent,” said Guardiola. “Great players always play the great games and I bet a beer that he will play.”
Bayern Munich faced their first defeat in Bundeliga in 53 matches on Saturday but Guardiola tried to reduce the importance of it, he shrugged: “It has no influence on this game. Of course, I’m sad for the team that we lost in Augsburg [and also squandered their unbeaten league record for the season] but our target for the last two, three weeks [since we won the league] is this game against Manchester United.”
But after the draw in Manchester and another draw against Hoffenheim it is the first time since 2011 that Bayern, who clinched the Bundesliga title in record time last month, have gone three straight games without a win.
“I knew that we would lose eventually,” said Guardiola, who had fielded a below-strength team against Augsburg to rest key players.
“The team knows how important the Champions League is. Obviously we still have to play the last few Bundesliga games but our targets are now different ones.”
Bayern will be without two key midfielders, with Bastian Schweinsteiger suspended following his red card in the first leg and Thiago Alcantara injured, leaving Toni Kroos and Philipp Lahm to occupy those positions.
Guardiola had a heated conversation with a British journalist after the end of first leg against United. Today, though, Guardiola was in much more relaxed mode as he welcomed his sparring partner to Munich.