Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola admitted Arsenal were "much, much better" than his European champions until the red card for Gunners keeper Wojciech Szczesny in the Champions League clash at Emirates Stadium.
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Guardiola’s side were toasting a 2-0 first leg victory at the final whistle, but the Spanish boss was happy to concede his side were nearly blown away by a whirlwind start from the Gunners.
The Bayern boss believes the missed penalty from Mesut Ozil was a potentially decisive moment in the tie, and he accepted the dismissal of Szczesny following his clash with Arjen Robben seven minutes before half-time turned the game in his side’s favour.
“They were much, much better than us in the first 10 or 15 minutes,” Guardiola told Sky Sports. “The mistake from Mesut Ozil [missed penalty] was important and then after the red card for the goalkeeper it’s a different game.
“He was the last man, the referee gave a penalty, it was a red card. The important decisions [in this tie], the referee was okay.
“When you see nine [Arsenal] players in the box [defending] in the second half, it is not easy, but we controlled it well. We played with patience, with patience, with patience and in the end we find the second goal.
“This result is super. We are so, so happy. It is my third time here and the last two times I came here with Barcelona, we played amazing and we didn’t win. So I know how difficult it is to win here. I accept, ok, we played 10 against 11 and it is less difficult at this point.”
Guardiola went on to warn his players about complacency as they look forward to the second leg in Munich, as he pointed to a similar plot line when these two sides met in last season’s Champions League to provide a warning.
“Last year, Bayern had a better result in the first leg against Arsenal, but the last five or six minutes [of the second leg] in Germany was terrible,” added Guardiola, reflecting on a tie that saw the Gunners win 2-0 in Munich and only go out on away goals after a 3-1 first leg defeat.
“It depends on our mind. If we try to defend our result, we will be eliminated by Arsenal. If we play to win the game, maybe we are going to the quarterfinals.”