Before playing one league match, it seems that Pep Guardiola isn’t enjoying a honeymoon or grace period with the German press, criticizing him already for losing one title for Bayern Munich and trying to change too much from something that worked close to perfectly last season.
It’s hard to say if players are actually unhappy with Guardiola trying to change their positioning too much or is it just fishin’ for negativity by the German press, who do not like the attitude of Guardiola which seems to be bordering the “I’m going to teach these natives how to play real football” while a German manager led Bayern to an extraordinary season in 2013, with a treble and breaking almost every possible Bundesliga record.
Guardiola, on the other hand, missed out on the league title and Champions League trophy when he was at Barcelona during his last season, and then needed to take a prolonged break from the game for whatever reason.
It seems that until the loss to Dortmund the press could live with all the tactical changes, and the players were going along with it as well. But the persistence of trying to sign Thiago Alcantara, a player who has practically done nothing in club football, for €21 million, which meant someone as accomplished as Javi Martinez didn’t even dress up for the Super Cup loss to Dortmund was a bit too much to swallow. The fact that Thiago is represented by Guardiola’s brother makers the deal even more disturbing on every level.
Bastian Schweinsteiger has mentioned he’s not sure what Guardiola has planned for him. Thomas Muller seemed confused after the loss to Dortmund, feeling as if everyone was playing a different position to what they’re used to. Arjen Robben is complaining about football not being such a complicated thing, or not needing to be. Philipp Lahm is suggesting that time is something Guardiola needs. Claudio Pizarro has said that he’s never seen a manager come in and change so many things.
The tactical breakdown in the second half against Dortmund was a perfect example of a team that’s not sure of where it should be. True, Bayern weren’t playing with their strongest lineup – Neuer, Gotze, Dante, Ribery and Martinez weren’t even in the squad, and yet the Bayern team he took over was completely different than what everyone saw losing to Dortmund. Obviously, Guardiola wants to show he’s succeeding with no thanks to Heynckes, but trying to force some makeover on a team that doesn’t need it seems arrogant and in short, one huge mistake.
Mario Mandzukic isn’t happy for not being in the lineup during the Audi Cup, and Bayern’s new system of not using strikers. He won’t be the only one displeased with Guardiola, who according to reports isn’t exactly helping himself with these abrupt changes, not doing a very good job explaining himself to the players he’s dropping or forcing into uncomfortable situation.
Coaching Bayern is the same as it is when you’re the manager of Barcelona, Real Madrid and other huge clubs around Europe. The pressure doesn’t stop, and begins from the moment you take the job. Judging a person for six weeks of work is unfair, and yet early signs aren’t bringing too much optimism with them, and Guardiola, even if he believes with all of his heart that he’s doing the right thing with the team, has to know that the leash and time given to him in order to experiment and try to implement a new style is getting shorter by the minute.