Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has responded to critics who have hit out at his tinkering with the side’s tactics since arriving at the Allianz Arena.
Despite having only lost one pre-season match since taking over at the European champions, Guardiola has attracted criticism for the way he has attempted to alter the Bayern system.
Some players have expressed concern, while others have reportedly been told they are no longer part of Bayern’s plans and can look for new clubs.
“I’ve never had a coach who changes so much,” Claudio Pizarro said, while Arjen Robben said it was important not to make “football more complicated than it is”.
Following Bayern’s 2-1 victory over Manchester City on Thursday, Guardiola praised his players’ willingness to adapt to his new system.
“Systems are like numbers in the telephone book,” he said. “They are not the most important thing. I am surprised how much the players are ready to learn and how much they have translated what I want onto the pitch. That the players want to learn from me makes me as happy as can be.”
Guardiola also went on to explain that improving players as footballers, not winning titles, was not the most important thing.
“It’s not the titles that give the coach prestige," he said. "Titles are nice, but at the end of the day it is about the players telling you at one point: ‘coach, you have really improved me, I have learned a lot.’ That makes a coach happy.”
Elsewhere, Mario Gotze returned to training on Friday, two months after suffering an injury that ruled him out of the 2013 Champions League final. Around 5,000 Bayern fans were there to witness his comeback.