Guardiola: Passion will decide semifinal
Pep Guardiola believes the team that shows the most passion will qualify for the Champions League final ahead of Bayern Munich’s semifinal second-leg clash with Real Madrid.
The eyes of the football world will be on Munich on Tuesday, as 108 TV stations and 880 journalists cover the second leg of the European tie at the Allianz Arena.
While the Bundesliga champions aim to become the first team to successfully defend their status as European champions since the European Cup became the Champions League, Los Blancos are hoping to finally win La Decima [their 10th European Cup triumph], and hold a 1-0 advantage from the first leg at the Bernabeu last week.
Despite having most of the possession in Madrid, Bayern were not able beat Real keeper Iker Casillas, and moreover were in danger of conceding more than just once when the hosts caught the title holders out on the counter.
"We ran a lot in the first leg, just like them. They are fast, and when we lose the ball, we need to react. They also try it from the set pieces," Guardiola told his prematch news conference in Munich on Monday..
"We want to keep them away from our goal. And maybe we will need to use other weapons as well."
The Catalan coach had come under fire for his possession-based football following the recent defeats against Borussia Dortmund and Madrid, but he says he will not change his philosophy.
"I try to get the best out of the team. When the match is over, and there is criticism, I have to live with that," Guardiola said. "It wasn’t the best result in Madrid. And sometimes you have to go beyond pure tactics."
"The team with the bigger will is set to come out on top. We have the dream of flying to Lisbon. Passion makes the difference," he added.
"I will always try and find arguments for possession of the ball. But I am not looking for excuses. It’s my philosophy that my teams have the ball.
"Through that we can set up a better attacking game than the opponent," Guardiola continued. "I don’t like stats; a lot of unforeseeable things can happen in football. In the first leg we did everything right but still lost. I stick to it: possession of the ball is very important."
With the dream of a fourth Champions League final in five years still alive, the former Barcelona man would not give too much away about who he would select on Tuesday.
"I have thought a lot about our situation. I liked how dominant we were in Madrid. But we need to be more aggressive in the box. I need to sleep over the balance one more night," he said.
Guardiola added that he does not expect Real to "park the bus" by adopting ultra-defensive tactics: "They will not play to keep the result for 90 minutes. It’s another thing when you press them into defence.
"We tried that in the first leg, but, of course, it’s clear what we need to advance. And that is more than one goal."