It has not been the easiest of weeks for Pep Guardiola. After the very public falling-out with Bayern Munich’s feted club doctor, Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt, following the 3-1 defeat against Porto in the Champions League quarter-final first leg last week the Spaniard has found his position under greater scrutiny than at any other time since his move to Germany.
Tuesday night’s second leg at the Allianz Arena will be an opportunity to put that behind him as Bayern attempt to overturn a two-goal deficit without the services of Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben. Guardiola attempted to bat away suggestions that he will not see out his three-year contract next season, with Manchester City thought to be waiting in the wings if he does decide to leave.
“My future is: Wednesday free, Thursday training and, of course, next year to be here. That’s my future,” he said when asked about his plans.
Sporting a T-shirt with the message “Justiça para Topo” in reference to an Argentinian reporter who died in a car crash during last year’s World Cup, the 44-year-old admitted he has found things tough of late.
“The last few months have been the most challenging of my managerial career – I have learned a lot about the passion of football,” he said. “March and April are the deciding months of the season and it’s the same for Porto, Juventus and every team. After the last few months of work, I can promise you we will give it a go against Porto. I am completely convinced they will take their chances and, for me as the manager, that is enough.”
Guardiola won 14 titles in four years at Barcelona before deciding to move on. Despite Bayern closing in on yet another Bundesliga title – they lead second-placed Wolfsburg by 12 points with only five matches to play – he knows that will not be considered good enough.
“This is a big club, so you can’t say we are in a cosy situation,” Guardiola said. “If you win, you’re a genius. If you lose, you have lots of problems but that’s the nature of my job. It isn’t enough to win the Bundesliga and the cup. Only a treble is enough for a club like Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern but I am proud to be here with these players.”