Pep Guardiola - The Footballing World

Bayern didn’t lose because of Messi – Guardiola

Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola said that Barcelona star Lionel Messi was not the only destroyer in his side’s UEFA Champions League loss on Wednesday at Camp Nou.

Guardiola insisted that there was more to Barcelona than just Argentina international Messi, despite the forward’s two-goal performance in the opening leg of the semi-final tie between the two European heavy-weights.

Barcelona took a stranglehold of proceedings in the Champions League clash, with Messi scoring netting twice in the final 13 minutes, before setting up teammate Neymar’s injury-time goal to round off Bayern’s broken resolve.

Guardiola – who previously won 14 major trophies as Barcelona head coach for the first time since 2012 – refused to single out Messi for praise, and told reporters post-match: “I will not say what I think of Messi. They are not just Leo, Barca are a very good team.

“They were very solid, in defence and attack. They have great players, Neymar, Luis Suarez.

“We tried to control the game so that Messi would not participate so much. We were 15 minutes away from a very good result.

“I am very proud of this team, and these players. For three months we’ve had problems, reached here, won Bundesliga, competed as these players have done, for many years winning things.

“I have no reproach for them. Been a very difficult year, I really appreciate what they have done this year.”

Guardiola, whose Bayern side crashed to a third consecutive defeat in all competitions for the first time since 2011, added: “We knew who we would be playing against, a team arriving in very good form. The best way to defend is to attack, it has worked well for us in the past.

“I could not come here and shut up shop. Against players at his level, Leo, and others, there is this possibility if you lose the ball close to your area.

“We lacked a little bit of incision up front, but I must just congratulate Barca for the win and prepare for Munich.”

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