Pep Guardiola has rubbished claims that the “physical condition” of his Bayern Munich players cost them against Juventus.
Bayern took an invaluable two-goal lead against Serie A champions and last season’s beaten Champions League finalists Juve on Tuesday, with goals from Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben giving them the advantage after an hour.
But goals from Paulo Dybala and Stefano Sturaro within a 13-minute recovery leaves the tie hanging in the balance ahead of the return leg in three weeks.
The physical condition of Bayern’s players was criticised after the match, but Guardiola rubbished such claims, and insisted the draw was one of his most pleasing as a coach.
“The result is what it is,” said Guardiola. “I know that in Italy you are about physical condition. I don’t give a f*** for the physical condition. It’s the mental question that I care about.
“I didn’t expect to come here and expect Juve not to shoot on target, or that we would play 90 fantastic minutes.
“They have players like (Mario) Mandzukic, (Paul) Pogba and (Leonardo) Bonucci, one of my all-time favourite players. And we showed character.
Guardiola added: “We could have won the game. We have a team with many youngsters. We will learn from this. Don’t forget it was Juventus.
“We played a great team, the finalists in the Champions League last year. We did not play a team from the provinces. They have won four titles in Italy. Last year, they went further than us.
‘”It’s a shame how it finished but I am very satisfied in the end with what we did. You say we lack character. On the contrary. We came here, had the ball, created chances and scored goals.
“Will it be enough to go through? I don’t know. I would like to sit here after a win but the result is what it is.
“I am very happy with how I did. It is probably the evening that I am the most pleased as coach in my career. Maybe one day I will work in Italy. If they want me.”
On the second leg at the Allianz Arena in March, Guaridola said: “The return game will be a new game. We start from 2-2 and we can go through with 0-0, 1-1 or by winning. And they have to win or get to 3-3.
“I expect them to play with five at the back. They will be a bit different. But they have incredible quality in attack.
“It will be a very tough game because we face a team with so many champions and great history behind them. It will be beautiful, the return.”