• Champions League

Guardiola: No handshake, no problem

ESPN staff
March 12, 2014
Bayern Munich stars reflect on moving past Arsenal into the last eight of the Champions League

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has shrugged off a second handshake snub from Arsene Wenger, insisting he has "no problem" with the Arsenal boss.

Wenger's 'no slave'

Alan Pardew clashed with Arsene Wenger in 2006 © Getty Images
  • If Pep Guardiola felt slighted by the lack of a single handshake from Arsene Wenger, it may be some consolation that he is not alone in having been snubbed.
  • Wenger has a history of failing to fulfil the traditional ceremonial duties on the sidelines and has taken a defiant stance against the gesture as an unspoken compulsory duty.
  • "I am not a slave of the ceremonial," he said after snubbing Mark Hughes in December 2009. "I have my freedom and my views. I feel the ceremonial is important but it's not the most important. The most important is how you behave."
  • Clive Allen, Tottenham coach, October 2011. After Arsenal's rivals won the north London derby, Wenger ignored Allen's offer of a handshake. Allen revealed: "He [Wenger] refused to shake my hand. He says he didn't see or hear me. But he's two-bob, he is."
  • Alan Pardew, West Ham manager, November 2006. Wenger was infuriated by Pardew's vivid celebrations following Marlon Harewood's late winner at Upton Park, shoving his counterpart on the touchline and mouthing the word "disgrace".
  • Jupp Heynckes, Bayern Munich manager, February 2013. After his side had beaten Arsenal 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium in their Champions League last 16 first-leg clash, Wenger stormed down the tunnel, reacting badly to defeat. But Heynckes played the incident down, saying: "We met before the game and we know each other well. I've known him for years and we have a good relationship."

Guardiola's side ran out 3-1 aggregate winners in their Champions League last-16 tie with Arsenal, following a 1-1 draw in the second leg at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday.

Eyebrows were raised when Guardiola and Wenger did not exchange pleasantries at the end of the first leg of the Champions League clash at the Emirates Stadium last month. A repeat performance sparked an inevitable question at Guardiola's post-match press conference in Munich.

"No problem," was all Guardiola would say as he side-stepped questions over his relationship with Wenger. "As a trainer I respect everything about the opponents."

Guardiola also avoided getting drawn into Wenger's accusation that Bayern winger Arjen Robben is "a very good diver". He instead opted to focus on his side's relatively comfortable passage to the Champions League quarter-finals.

"The players were very intelligent in the way we played," reflected Guardiola. "We wanted to control the game. In the first half we only had one chance but we didn't give them any chances, so we played very well in that aspect and we wanted to put a bit more pressure up front.

"Our goal was very good. We then conceded a goal that wasn't so good, we had a few problems for about 15 minutes but we didn't have any big problems in the game. We deserve this qualification for the next round."

Robben was equally convinced his team deserved to win over the course of the two games, even though the Champions League holders were not at their best in the second leg on home soil.

"In the end it was a deserved draw to take us through to the quarter-finals," Robben told Sky Sports. "They have a very good team. If you give them the ball then they can play and cause trouble so the main thing for us was to keep possession and to control the game.

"I think we did that in the first half in which we played really well, created some chances and with a bit more luck we should have scored a goal.

"In the second half we scored a goal and it looked like a comfortable position but then it was 1-1 and for about five or 10 minutes we lost a little bit of control and we recovered."

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