• Champions League

Guardiola: English teams are negative

ESPN staff
April 9, 2014
Pep Guardiola expects defensive Manchester United

Pep Guardiola is expecting Manchester United to defend in numbers once again after claiming English sides adopt a negative mentality in the Champions League.

Guardiola's Bayern Munich were held to a 1-1 draw in their quarter-final first leg at Old Trafford, after David Moyes' side opted for a counter-attacking approach.

United's opener on the night came from a set-piece with Nemanja Vidic heading in Wayne Rooney's corner as the hosts registered only 26 percent of the possession.

"It's never, never easy in my experience in the Champions League against English teams," said Guardiola.

"Not all teams, but most of them. They are so defensive and use the counter-action very, very, very well."

Guardiola - then in charge of Barcelona - also fell victim to Chelsea in 2012's semi-finals, with Roberto Di Matteo employing similarly defensive tactics to Moyes in both legs. Chelsea then went on to beat Jupp Heynckes' Bayern on penalties in the final.

Pep Guardiola admits it would be a "huge mistake" if Bayern Munich are eliminated © Getty Images

"When they play at home they attack a little bit more but when they play away they defend. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe David Moyes thinks another thing, but I think they [United] are going to wait back, back with eight or nine players in the box, await our mistake and wait for a free-kick or a corner to punish us. So I think we cannot afford a mistake and have to be cleverer in attack."

Despite wrapping up the Bundesliga title in record time, Guardiola has unexpectedly come under pressure with Bayern seeing their 53-game unbeaten league sequence come to an end against Augsberg on Saturday.

Bayern have now gone three matches without winning, drawing 3-3 at home to Hoffenheim before their trip to Old Trafford.

Accordingly, Guardiola admitted elimination at the hands of United would be a "huge mistake" given the side won the treble last season under his predecessor Heynckes.

"If we are not in the semi-finals, it is a huge mistake for us, for me, the new manager," Guardiola said.

"I know if we are not in the Champions League final, this club cannot deal with that. It's very important me, for the team and I knew that before I came here.

"I knew right from the start that I have got to be in the situation so I can also get this treble. If I don't do that, then, hey, it's not so good! I have to accept this."

Moyes has pointed to Bayern's record against English teams in recent seasons as evidence that United can pull off a shock.

"It would be something which is more in Bayern's mind that the English teams have come here and got a good record," said Moyes.

"They will have that doubt in their mind. They are European champions but they will have the games they have played against English teams in mind. We will try to use it to our advantage."

Bayern lost 3-2 to Manchester City at their own ground earlier this season and drew 1-1 with Arsenal in the last 16, having lost 2-0 there to Arsene Wenger's side last season.

However City's victory essentially came in a dead rubber with the group seemingly decided - although one more goal for Manuel Pellegrini's side would have seen them leapfrog Bayern - while Arsenal's results at the Allianz Arena came on the back of comprehensive first leg defeats.

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