Champions League - Guardiola defiant as tiki-taka declared dead

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola still believes in possession-based football and cannot alter his feelings about the way the game should be played, he said after the Champions League holders were hammered by Real Madrid.

Bundesliga - Guardiola has no intention of changing system at Bayern

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Bayern Munich's coach Josep Guardiola reacts during the Champions League semi-final second leg soccer match against Real Madrid in Munich April 29, 2014.


The former Barcelona boss was forced to defend his philosophy, already under fire in Germany, after his side were outclassed in their semi-final, second leg, losing 4-0 on the night and 5-0 on aggregate.

"I know it's a tough night for us, for me and for the players," he said, adding that Bayern lost because they had too little possession, not too much. "The reason we did so badly in the first half is that we did not have possession. We didn't play with the ball. Against Arsenal and against Manchester United (earlier in the competition) and in the first leg in Madrid, we played with the ball and we controlled the game. We did not do it in the first half and when you don't have control against a great, great team like this, you don't have a chance."

"The argument about my ideas is not valid," he added. "I can't change what I feel and what I feel is that we must play with the ball and attack as much as possible."

The Spaniard's opposite number Carlo Ancelotti agreed that there was no need to see Tuesday's astonishing win for Real as the death knell for the style which Guardiola pioneered at Barcelona and is attempting to bring to Bayern. Ancelotti said that the match, which helped Real reach their first Champions League final for 12 years where they will face either Chelsea or city rivals Atletico Madrid, should not be seen as anything more than a good performance by his side.

"It's a win, nothing more than that, against a strong team, which won the Champions League last year," the Italian said. "That's where it finishes. It was a good game, we controlled it, we blocked their game, we did it well and we deserved to win. But it is not the end of a philosophy. Bayern will carry on with their game, Guardiola's philosophy will continue because he has won lots and lots."


Those so ready and willing to proclaim the death of possession-based football, or the unique brand of tiki-taka which Guardiola did so much to cement as football's most advanced philosophy, need to stand down. While it is true that Bayern were pumped by Madrid, this was largely due to their atrocious defending of set-pieces, which then left them open to the kind of counter which Madrid specialise in. To suggest Guardiola has some intrinsic flaw in his approach when his side have lost only six games in all competitions this season is a stretch, to be generous. Their only flaw is that they peaked too early, winning the Bundesliga weeks ahead of schedule, while Madrid are now coming into their best form.


Real Madrid go on to the final in Lisbon where they will face either Atletico Madrid or Jose Mourinho's Chelsea. For Bayern, the season will inevitably end in anti-climax as they can no longer repeat their treble, but they still have the small matter of the German Cup final against Borussia Dortmund to contest on May 17. Should they win against their great domestic rivals, with Guardiola securing a double in his first season working in foreign football, and only his fifth as a coach in total, where would that leave the nay-sayers?


Arjen Robben: Well, I think we can't throw everything away just because of that defeat. I mean, okay it's 0-4 in the Champions League, it just can't be so negative, there are a few positive things don't you think? We won the Bundesliga with an incredible number of records, we are in the German Cup final, we are in the Champions League semi final for the fourth time in five years, three times in final in five years. Today, we played against a better Real than us - good for them.

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Henry Winter (The Telegraph): Real’s triumph and tactics will inevitably cast a harsh spotlight on the vanquished Guardiola. Bayern had 71 per cent possession but Real had 100 per cent of the goals. Guardiola’s defence was so poor, so lacking in alertness that the world’s best goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer, had to operate as a sweeper, rushing out to cover for his porous defence as Real stormed through again. How much defensive work does Guardiola do? It was astonishing to behold, seeing the European champions filleted by the visitors’ scalpel. So much for Allianz being an inferno as Bayern’s Karl-Heinz Rummenigge had predicted. Any potential flames were soon extinguished. And so it began, the brutal dissection of Bayern’s defence, the pain starting after 16 minutes, and never ebbing, only deepening. Modric’s outswinging corner was met powerfully by Ramos, whose header flew in. The marking was shocking.

Sarah Winterburn (Football365): There were plenty suggesting that Pep Guardiola had been 'found out', that tiki-taka was now dead, that possession had been supplanted by power. If it all sounds familiar it's because we have heard it all before - when Inter beat Barcelona in 2010, when Spain lost to Switzerland in the World Cup later the same year, every sodding time Jose Mourinho triumphs over a Pep Guardiola, Arsene Wenger or Brendan Rodgers. To dismiss Real's victory over Bayern as the triumph of one system over another is doing a disservice to the talents of this Madrid side, who were simply far, far better than Bayern over two legs. Victory may have owed a great deal to Carlo Ancelotti and his wonderful knack of producing free-scoring but defensively sound teams (note Chelsea's goal difference of +71 in 2009/10 and marvel, and then note the Daily Telegraph's headline of 'Louis van Gaal's desire to appoint five coaches paves way for Carlo Ancelotti at Manchester United' on Tuesday and giggle at the notion), but it owes more to a set of players who have been remarkable in their pursuit of immortality in the form of La Decima.

Michael Cox (The Guardian): As vulnerable as Bayern were to counterattacking, however, their terrible set-piece defending was their most crucial failure. Twice Sergio Ramos headed into the net when unmarked, which represents a worrying regression from last season, when Bayern got their noses in front against Spanish opposition, Barcelona, at this stage because of their own set-piece power. Indeed, it was something of a role reversal. Bayern were now playing the fruitless tiki-taka while their opponents powered their way in front from set plays, then turned a commanding lead into a rout with brilliant counterattacking. Real's third goal summed it up, with Benzema, Bale and Ronaldo motoring forward instantly when possession was won, constructing a lightning-fast break based around speed and selflessness. Bayern had little response. There was surprisingly little invention from the midfield zone, with Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery the only players willing to take risks in possession. Guardiola's half-time change must be the first time in history a manager has introduced a holding midfielder, Javi Martínez, in place of a striker, Mario Mandzukic, when requiring five goals.



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