Nagelsmann encouraged by 'strong' Bayern second half to see off Barcelona

·2-min read

Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann praised the second-half turnaround of his side in their 2-0 Champions League victory over Barcelona.

Manuel Neuer was called into action twice in the opening 45 minutes on Tuesday to deny former teammate Robert Lewandowski, with Barcelona having 10 attempts on goal in the first period – the highest first-half tally of any visiting side to the Allianz Arena in the competition since Fiorentina's 11 in October 2008.

Bayern improved after the break, though, taking the sort of opportunities Barcelona had squandered with Lucas Hernandez scoring from a corner and Leroy Sane quickly doubling the scoreline.

Nagelsmann was encouraged by the response of his side and their ruthless nature in the final third, having struggled in that regard in recent Bundesliga draws with Stuttgart and Borussia Monchengladbach.

"In the first half, we left the centre open a little bit too much," Nagelsmann said. "We didn't really have the best opportunities, but we had three or four great wins of the ball where Jamal [Musiala] didn't realise how open he was.

"Barca had the better chances because we were missing the final chance. Still, we can rely on Manuel Neuer who could save some great shots.

"In the second half, we were able to defend a lot better because we looked at a couple of things during the break; I was very happy with that.

"We were able to score that first goal from the corner, then we were able to score the second quickly after – we were able to open up Barcelona.

"It wasn't always easy to defend. We were strong in the second half, they were strong in the first half; we had those situations that we were able to show that we didn't show against Stuttgart or Gladbach, and in the end we won."

Although Bayern were able to secure what may prove to be a valuable victory, having already beaten Inter in this group stage, Sadio Mane had a quiet night, failing to attempt a shot or create a chance for a team-mate.

But Nagelsmann said: "He played a new position today that he didn't play as much in the last year at Liverpool. It's just normal with a new player who we still have to integrate, who is in a different team.

"I said last week: I'm hoping he pulls a couple of things to him and gets a little bit more confidence. We're very happy to have him, and we're trying to get him into our game."