Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola tells media: I'm not dead yet
Pep Guardiola told the German media he is "not dead" yet despite their efforts to "kill" him after Bayern Munich's loss to Atletico Madrid in their Champions League semifinal first leg, adding: "I have one more bullet left."
Guardiola took charge of Bayern in 2013 but has been unable to replicate predecessor Jupp Heynckes' European success, with the German having guided the side to the 2012 final before winning a Treble in his final season.
Bayern suffered semifinal exits to Real Madrid and Barcelona during Guardiola's first two seasons, and they face an uphill battle to make it beyond the last four this time around after Wednesday's 1-0 first-leg loss away to Atletico.
The defeat has brought renewed criticism in Germany -- particularly after Guardiola left Thomas Muller out of his starting XI at the Vicente Calderon -- but the former Barca boss stressed that he can still end his reign on a high.
"I am not dead. After this match, everybody 'killed' me. But I am still here. I have one more bullet left," Guardiola said, half-jokingly, in his trademark mix of German and English at a prematch news conference for the Bundesliga game against Borussia Monchengladbach.
Despite their difficulties in Europe, Bayern have enjoyed great success domestically under Guardiola and they are currently seven points clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga with three games remaining.
Victory over fifth-placed Gladbach on Saturday will secure an unprecedented fourth consecutive Bundesliga title, and Guardiola said Bayern are determined to become champions against what he described as "the best team in Germany alongside Borussia Dortmund."
Guardiola, who will take charge of Manchester City this summer, said he would "not talk about title celebrations or anything else" at the news conference, but he spoke at length in defence of the performance against Atletico.
Bayern dominated possession against Atletico after Saul Niguez's stunning goal in the 11th minute and they came close to an equaliser when David Alaba's long-range strike hit the woodwork, although Fernando Torres also hit the post for Atletico late on.
"I am happy. Sorry, guys. I am the coach of FC Bayern Munich. I fight for everything, for this outstanding club," he said. "You cannot imagine how satisfied I was with the final 75 minutes at Madrid."
Bayern had lost 3-0 to Barcelona in the first leg of their semifinal last season, and he added: "I wanted to keep the door open for the second leg. I did not want a repeat of what happened at Barcelona."
He also addressed the criticism of his decision to bench Germany international Muller, who has not been at his best in recent weeks.
"I know how special Thomas Muller is at this club. The reason [for not playing him] was tactics," he said. "I only wanted to play with one forward. I wanted more control.
"I love Thomas Muller. He has a 'nose,' a special feeling. I love to play with Thomas Muller."
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.