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Boss takes stock

Guardiola: We’ve always played with passion

Pep Guardiola was brimming with pride as he reflected on a fine first half of the season in which his team amassed 45 points in 17 Bundesliga fixtures and progressed smoothly to the last sixteen in the DFB Cup and Champions League. “Our players have great metal strength,” said the FCB coach even ahead of Friday’s last-minute victory in Mainz.

Prior to a well-deserved holiday break, Guardiola reviewed Friday’s thrilling match, cast an eye back over 2014, listed his plans for the festive season and revealed his wishes for the new year.

Pep Guardiola on...

...the win in Mainz: “It was a very tough match. Many congratulations to my counterpart and his team. Mainz did very well getting in behind our defence in the first half, but we had more control of possession in the second half. We’re very pleased with the win and the whole of the first half of the season. Wherever we’ve played, we’ve always done so with passion.”

...fears of a difficult period after the World Cup: “Footballers are always capable of raising their game, and there can be no excuses! You can’t hide behind statements like: ‘We were at the World Cup, it’ll be tough.' Our players have great metal strength and always play to win. They run and fight, and I like that. It’s the most important thing. Our fans know it. Regardless of who’s fit and who isn’t, we represent Bayern Munich as well as we can.”

...his personal highlight in 2014: “Winning the league title in Berlin, because it was my first trophy in Germany. But I’m delighted and pleased whenever we play well.”

...perfection in football: “We’ve had two matches that included perfect moments: last season’s 3-1 win at Manchester City and the 1-1 draw in Leverkusen. The way we controlled those games is my idea of perfection.”

...the winter break: “It’s the second time in my life I’ve had a winter break. It’s good for the injured players, but it wouldn’t be a problem for me if we had to play again next week.”

...his holiday plans: “It’s a time for the family. I’ll stay calm and reflect. I’m looking forward to my mother’s outstanding cooking. We’ll have a Catalan soup.”

...holiday tasks for the players: “There aren’t any. The players should do something for themselves, tennis or golf. Free time is free time.”

...the prospects for the rest of the season: “Just because we’ve had a good first half of the season doesn’t mean the second will be the same. Every match starts nil-nil. We might lose every game. We can’t just sit on our lead.”

...his wishes for 2015: “Fewer injuries. That we play even better. Health. That my kids do well in school. That’s it (laughs).”

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