Ancelotti Okays Guardiola’s Decision To Put Muller On Bench

The striker was left on the bench in the Champions League semi-final first leg as the German champions were defeated 1-0 but the incoming coach believes it was the right call.


Incoming Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti has backed current incumbent Pep Guardiola over his decision to drop Thomas Muller for the Champions League semi-final first leg defeat to Atletico Madrid.


Munich were shot down by a single Saul Niguez goal at the Vicente Calderon and Guardiola has been severely criticised in the wake of the loss for opting to start with Robert Lewandowski alone up front.

Muller had scored eight goals in 10 Champions League games prior to the semi-finals, including two in the quarter-finals against Juventus. However, Ancelotti has declared that the coach knows best and described the Catalan as the “ideal” man to make the big decisions.

“This happens to every coach when they make a decision,” Ancelotti told Goal. “Guardiola is the person who knows these players best, their physical condition and so on.

“Everybody is talking but Guardiola is the ideal person to make these decisions because he knows the players well. He decides with knowledge, there’s no doubt about that.”

Bayern face the prospect of elimination at the semi-final stage for the third year in a row following defeats to Real Madrid in 2014 and Barcelona last year. Without an away goal, they return to the Allianz Arena in an attempt to break through against an Atleti team who have conceded only once in five knockout matches this season.

Ancelotti believes there is no secret to Diego Simeone’s effective style of play other than all the players working together in unison to fulfil their coach’s plans.

“There’s no key other than hard work,” says Ancelotti. “They work together all the time. They are always highly concentrated and in my opinion that’s the coach’s work.

“When we speak about attacking, usually that’s down to the creativity of the players but the coach can do much more for the team in defensive tasks. That’s team work. The coach’s mentality is fundamental to that.

“They have the best defensive organisation. We have to say that the Atletico defence is not only the responsibility of the defenders, it is the co-ordinated work of the whole team.”

Much has been made about the clash of styles between Guardiola’s Bayern and Simeone’s Atletico with Ancelotti stating that he prefers neither one nor the other. The Italian believes the best solution all depends on the qualities of the players.

“What they have in common is that they are on everyone’s lips right now,” said Ancelotti. “Simeone bases his philosophy on great defensive work and Guardiola bases his philosophy on ball possession and control of the game.

“I think it depends on the players’ characteristics you have at your disposal. If you have quality players you must play quality football. If you have strong players you could find a more defensive solution.”


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