Fri, Oct 18, 2013 - Page 18 News List

Guardiola gets tough on his Bayern Munich stars

TOUGH AT THE TOP:The Spaniard said the players had to follow his orders, or there would be ‘problems,’ but praised the team for adapting so rapidly to his methods

AFP, BERLIN

Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola has got tough with his team, warning the players he will not stand for any dissent as it will only hurt their chances in defending their Bundesliga crown.

“I am convinced we will be even better when all the players are fit, but we will only fight for the [league] title at the end of the season if every player in this big squad accepts my decisions, otherwise we will have problems,” he told Bayern Munich magazine.

“I am a great friend of my players when they accept my decisions. I support those who accept them, but those who don’t want to understand them will often find themselves sitting in the stands,” the Spaniard said.

Guardiola can expect to have Germany midfielder Mario Goetze, as well as Spain stars Javi Martinez and Thiago Alcantara back from injury in the following weeks and the coach believes the situation is healthy both for competition and to rotate his squad.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: We need every player,” he said. “I am glad when they are all here and fit.”

“With a view on the whole season, it’s not good when Franck Ribery or Philipp Lahm plays an entire game every three days,” Guardiola added. “The more players I have, the more I can vary the squad.”

Bayern face a busy run of matches up until the winter break with Bundesliga, Champions League and German Cup matches, as well as the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco in December.

League leaders Bayern host FSV Mainz 05 tomorrow in the Bundesliga, before entertaining Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League on Wednesday next week.

With holders Bayern top of Group D in the Champions League following convincing wins at home to Russian champions CSKA Moscow and away to Manchester City, Guardiola has adjusted well to life in Munich since taking charge in June.

“To be honest, I am a bit surprised at how the players have adapted to my ideas,” the former Barcelona coach said, having changed Bayern’s formation, resulting in about 75 percent ball possession each match. “I thought we’d need way more time for it, but we are already on a very, very high level. I am pleased with what we’re showing out there.”

Having converted Germany and Bayern captain Philipp Lahm from rightback to a defensive midfielder this season, Guardiola said he expects to end the experiment once all Munich’s stars are back to full fitness.

“Normally, he will return to his old position,” Guardiola said. “He is one of the most intelligent players in the world and I am 100 percent convinced that, after a short settling-in period, he would be among the best in the world in every position.”

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