Guardiola defiant as tiki-taka declared dead
Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola still believes in possession-based football and cannot alter his feelings about the way the game should be played, he said after the Champions League holders were hammered by Real Madrid.
The former Barcelona boss was forced to defend his philosophy, already under fire in Germany, after his side were outclassed in their semi-final, second leg, losing 4-0 on the night and 5-0 on aggregate.
"I know it's a tough night for us, for me and for the players," he said, adding that Bayern lost because they had too little possession, not too much. "The reason we did so badly in the first half is that we did not have possession. We didn't play with the ball. Against Arsenal and against Manchester United (earlier in the competition) and in the first leg in Madrid, we played with the ball and we controlled the game. We did not do it in the first half and when you don't have control against a great, great team like this, you don't have a chance."
"The argument about my ideas is not valid," he added. "I can't change what I feel and what I feel is that we must play with the ball and attack as much as possible."
The Spaniard's opposite number Carlo Ancelotti agreed that there was no need to see Tuesday's astonishing win for Real as the death knell for the style which Guardiola pioneered at Barcelona and is attempting to bring to Bayern. Ancelotti said that the match, which helped Real reach their first Champions League final for 12 years where they will face either Chelsea or city rivals Atletico Madrid, should not be seen as anything more than a good performance by his side.
"It's a win, nothing more than that, against a strong team, which won the Champions League last year," the Italian said. "That's where it finishes. It was a good game, we controlled it, we blocked their game, we did it well and we deserved to win. But it is not the end of a philosophy. Bayern will carry on with their game, Guardiola's philosophy will continue because he has won lots and lots."
Those so ready and willing to proclaim the death of possession-based football, or the unique brand of tiki-taka which Guardiola did so much to cement as football's most advanced philosophy, need to stand down. While it is true that Bayern were pumped by Madrid, this was largely due to their atrocious defending of set-pieces, which then left them open to the kind of counter which Madrid specialise in. To suggest Guardiola has some intrinsic flaw in his approach when his side have lost only six games in all competitions this season is a stretch, to be generous. Their only flaw is that they peaked too early, winning the Bundesliga weeks ahead of schedule, while Madrid are now coming into their best form.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
Real Madrid go on to the final in Lisbon where they will face either Atletico Madrid or Jose Mourinho's Chelsea. For Bayern, the season will inevitably end in anti-climax as they can no longer repeat their treble, but they still have the small matter of the German Cup final against Borussia Dortmund to contest on May 17. Should they win against their great domestic rivals, with Guardiola securing a double in his first season working in foreign football, and only his fifth as a coach in total, where would that leave the nay-sayers?
WHAT THE PLAYER SAID
Arjen Robben: Well, I think we can't throw everything away just because of that defeat. I mean, okay it's 0-4 in the Champions League, it just can't be so negative, there are a few positive things don't you think? We won the Bundesliga with an incredible number of records, we are in the German Cup final, we are in the Champions League semi final for the fourth time in five years, three times in final in five years. Today, we played against a better Real than us - good for them.
Bayern Munich's Javi Martinez (L), Bastian Schweinsteiger (C) and Philipp Lahm after being defeated by Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final second leg (Reuters)Reuters
WHAT THE MEDIA SAID
WHAT THE FANS SAY