Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has warned his team to maintain their focus when they face Arsenal on Tuesday, despite going into the Champions League last-16 second leg with a 2-0 advantage.
Bayern came out on top against their 10-man opponents at the Emirates Stadium on Feb. 19, and have positioned themselves as the favourites to progress to the quarterfinals.
However, Guardiola remains wary of the threat Arsene Wenger’s side pose and is refusing to get complacent.
“It’s better to go into the match with a 2-0 lead,” Guardiola told his prematch news conference. “But it’s a final, it’s a knockout game. That is always dangerous.
“We must focus on our game, our idea and our style of play. The Champions League is not the most important title of the season, that is the national championship [the Bundesliga], but it is a nice competition and we want to progress.”
Guardiola, who has lost only one competitive game since taking the reins at Bayern -- a 3-2 Champions League defeat at home to Manchester City -- insists that his side will not play for a draw.
“We must be aggressive, with the ball or without it. I don’t want to see my team trying to control the result,” he said. “When we start playing for time and only defend the result, we will run into major problems.
“When we have the ball then we have more options. When they have the ball, everything can happen. Everything!” Guardiola said. “With Arsenal being down 2-0, they can only win, because everyone believes that they have no chance.”
Bayern could become the first team ever to defend their Champions League crown this season, but Guardiola does not want to think that far ahead just yet.
“My focus is to win the next match,” he said. “I have seen [Real] Madrid, I have also seen how strong Chelsea are. There are many, many teams who are very good. It’s still only the last 16. We must progress from there first.”
Bayern’s clash against Arsenal has been overshadowed by Uli Hoeness’ tax evasion trial, which started on Monday.
When asked about the trial, Guardiola said that the team owe it to the club president to beat Arsenal.
“In my seven, eight months here I’ve learnt that Uli Hoeness is the most important person at the club,” Guardiola said. “We love him very much. Our best help is to win the match. We are focused.”