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'It’s a dream'

Guardiola looks for clear minds

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The Säbener Strasse HQ was fairly quiet on Friday. Only Xherdan Shaqiri, Franck Ribéry and Holger Badstuber, who were working on their comebacks, plus Jérôme Boateng, Daniel van Buyten and Arjen Robben turned up to train. Ahead of Sunday’s Hannover 96 game, the rest of the squad were given the day off to clear their minds after the successful midweek mission in London.

Pep Guardiola was the man responsible for handing his players a rest. “This break is important for the players’ minds and not for their legs,” explained the head coach who is refusing to take time off himself. Indeed, Guardiola was in ebullient mood as he faced the press in the media room at the Säbener Strasse. “I don’t run during matches so I don’t have any problems. I had my break in New York.”

Guardiola is not worried about his players taking anything for granted. “It’s not easy” after Champions League games, he observed, “but you can handle this situation if you play for Bayern. The players know that.” That also applies to Guardiola who is buzzing at the moment: “I’m the Bayern coach. It’s a dream for me to win something for the club after the great support they’ve given me since I arrived.”

'Keep improving'

And the dream is alive. Thanks to the 2-0 win at Arsenal, Bayern are in a good position in their quest for a quarter-final slot. The situation also looks good in the domestic league and cup campaigns. “We had a lot of problems in the opening seven minutes. We took control of the game after that,” said Guardiola, before going on to praise his players.

“The players understand a bit more every day about how we work and our ideas,” explained the 43-year-old, “we talk every day about what we’re doing right and what’s going wrong. So it’s normal that we’re getting to know each other better.” The Catalan is also clear about the way forward: “We can keep improving on our already high quality.” And that’s definitely the case with a clear mind.