Former Bayern Munich, current Man. City boss Pep Guardiola defends failure to win Champions League
Former Bayern Munich and current Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola has denied that his time in charge at the Allianz Arena was a failure because he did not manage to win UEFA Champions League with the Bavarian giants.
Guardiola spent three seasons in Munich between 2013 and 2016 – winning the Bundesliga every year and the DFB Cup in 2014 and 2016 – but was eliminated at the semi-final stage of the Champions League by Real Madrid (2014), Barcelona (2015) and Atletico Madrid (2016).
"My time in Munich won't be judged on not having won the Champions League," Guardiola told Catalunya Radio.
Having won the European Cup with Barcelona in 2009 and 2011, Guardiola has since failed to get beyond the last-four stage, his semi-final exits with Bayern followed by last-16 and quarter-final losses to Monaco and Liverpool respectively while in charge of Manchester City.
"Winning it is hard and defeats are part and parcel of the competition," he said. "Football always gives you another chance and people are surprised by the difficulty of the Champions League: with Bayern I got to three semi-finals and was knocked out in each.
"Bayern have won successive league titles – and the same goes for Juventus – so perhaps for them the Champions League seems more important."
The bar had been set high for the Catalan tactician in Munich upon his arrival, with predecessor Jupp Heynckes having signed off in 2013 with a treble, Bayern's first continental triumph since 2001.
Even in spite of his failure to repeat that feat, though, Guardiola reflects fondly on his time in Munich.
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"I'm happy that at Bayern and at City they've been able to play as we wanted," Guardiola said. "We won a lot, but I'm happier with how we played.
"It's tough being there [at Bayern], but I made a lot of friends and that makes up for it. We all wanted to win the trophy, but there are so many influencing factors."
One of those friends Guardiola made is Philipp Lahm, described by the former Barcelona boss as "the most intelligent footballer" he had ever worked with.
"We just enjoyed sharing ideas about football," Lahm told the BBC recently. "It was great fun and I think he also enjoyed talking to me about football. We had similar ideas and he always provided the players with solutions. It was a privilege for me."