‘Don’t judge me on Champions League alone’

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Bayern's all-conquering Spaniard faces a tough examination of his brilliance when he leads the injury-hit German champions against a Juventus side boasting one of Europe's meanest defences in the last-16 first leg clash in Turin on Tuesday.

Yet asked in a pre-match news conference on Monday whether it would be a failure if he finished his three-season Bayern spell without having won the trophy, the Manchester City-bound coach responded that there was more to life than football.

“Anyone who judges me only for the Champions League doesn't realise my life does not depend on that,” he told reporters. “I want to win the Champions League too, but I have found a new culture (in Munich) and my objectives have been achieved.

“At Barcelona, I won everything and won it again. I wanted to try a new experience, just as I will change again. There is so much more to my life than football.”

That does not mean Guardiola, who won the Champions League twice at Barca and is heading for a third straight Bundesliga crown, has lost his reputation as a brilliant general.

Now, though, comes a monumental test of his mastery as he tries to work out the conundrum of how to stop an in-form Juve side that he describes as the best operators at set-pieces when he has only a makeshift defence to work with.

“We have some problems (with injuries) and we need to find a way to solve them. We are missing all of our central defenders at the moment and no one is really available,” said Guardiola.

“Of course, we have Serdar Tasci and (Medhi) Benatia. One has just arrived and the other has only resumed training three or four days ago but that is the situation and we shouldn't complain and try to work with the players that are available.”

Former Germany international Tasci joined this month on loan from Spartak Moscow to plug the gaps left by injured central defenders Jerome Boateng and Javi Martinez before centre back Holger Badstuber fractured his ankle just over a week ago.

“We've got to attack intelligently and avoid conceding set-pieces as they are maybe the best team in Europe from set pieces.”

Juve, last year's beaten finalists, come into the game with huge confidence, a 0-0 draw on Friday at Bologna ending a run of 13 straight wins. It was their ninth successive clean sheet.

“Juve, naturally, have achieved a lot in the past four years, first with (Antonio) Conte and now with Massimiliano) Allegri, they've managed to achieve great things.

“Juventus always approach each match with the attitude that they must win it. They didn't get off to a very good start this season but they've now... shown great quality so I believe this will be an interesting match.”

“It would be important for us to score an away goal, but Juve have a very strong defence and it's up to us to play with intelligence. We'll try to win the first leg and then control the second.”

Reuters

Original source: ‘Don't judge me on Champions League alone’

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