sport

Guardiola defends tactics

Pep Guardiola defended Bayern Munich's possession football in the wake of their Champions League defeat at Real Madrid.

Bayern had 72 per cent of the ball at the Bernabeu - and 80% in the first half - but will start the second leg 1-0 behind after a Karim Benzema goal won the game for a Real side content to hit on the break.

Guardiola's tactics came in for some criticism, not least in the Sky Sports studio where Glenn Hoddle claimed the Catalan has taken Bayern backwards since succeeding treble-winning coach Jupp Heynckes last year.

But Guardiola afterwards claimed a more proactive attacking approach would have played right into the hands of Real's team of "athletes".

He said: "Since I was a player Real Madrid have basically been a counter-attacking team. Of course, if they'd wanted the ball it would have been an end-to-end game.

"Sometimes in football you hear that we should play more 'vertical', but I think in that situation Madrid are unstoppable.

"They are the best counter-attacking team in the world, they have legs, they are athletes. They are football players, but mainly athletes."

The Bayern boss also claimed it was a good performance from his side, saying: "I am proud of my team. They fought well against a tough opponent, one of the best in the world. We had a good game and I hope we will improve further next week.

"I did not want to have the typical German game of back and forth. I wanted a lot of possession and we managed that in parts. But we did not finish our chances well."

Guardiola's view was endorsed by his players, and Arjen Robben went as far as to say Bayern had "dominated" their hosts.

But that opinion was not shared by Bayern legend and honorary president Franz Beckenbauer, who told Sky television in Germany: "Possession doesn't mean anything when your opponents create the better chances. We are lucky they only scored one."