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Apr 23, 2014

Pep Guardiola 'optimistic' of progress

FC's Craig Burley gives his grades for each Bayern player in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid.

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has claimed he remains optimistic that his side will be contesting this season’s Champions League final, despite a 1-0 defeat in the first leg of their semifinal against Real Madrid.

Pep Guardiola does not think one goal will be enough to oust Bayern from the Champions League.

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Karim Benzema’s goal has handed the Spanish side an advantage in the last-four tie, with the clean sheet they kept against the reigning European champions at the Bernabeu arguably just as valuable as the solitary goal they conjured up in front of a raucous home crowd.

Yet two-time Champions League winning coach Guardiola is convinced his team are in a strong position to progress to next month’s final in Lisbon, as he looked forward to the return clash in Munich next Tuesday.

“I’m more optimistic now than before playing this game,” he told German television. “We did everything to win but you can always lose when you’re against great players like these.

“We’ve lost in a respectable manner. They have a lot of legs and are the best team in the world on the break. The match was how they wanted it. The ball was going faster, faster returns, more verticality, and in that, they are better.

“In Munich we’ll give everything to win. We played against a team with the most expensive players in the world.

“We have done well but the result is not satisfactory. Next week at the Allianz Arena we need to flip the tie. I am proud of my team. We played well against one of the best teams in the world. Hopefully we can keep improving for the second-leg.”

Meanwhile, Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben also talked up his side’s hopes of making it through to a third successive Champions League final, despite drawing a blank at the Bernabeu.

“We can go with confidence into the second leg,” Robben told German television. “I think we played well. The opponent was Real Madrid, they are a super team but we dominated.

“We created a couple of chances with an excellent one for Mario Goetze. Now we have to keep improving ahead of the return.”

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