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Josep Guardiola: If You Have Ball, You Can Play Twenty Four Hours Around

More unique opportunity, which was given to the readers of Sportsdaily know closer the carrier of exclusive coaching genius Josep Guardiola, may not appear. Readers of the most of other mass media do not even have it: Pep almost never gives interviews. With the help of FC Bayern Munchen we offer an interview with the new tutor of champions of everything, and Sportsdaily is the sole printed edition in Russia, which publishes it. There is nothing to be added here. Absolutely.

Friend for those, who understands

— Herr Guardiola, in October FC Bayern has come out to the top in Bundesliga for the first time. Are you glad about this?
— It is not so important for me to be the first in table exactly in October, assuming that it is always wonderful to be on the first place. At the moment the other is important: we are looking for our game, completely involved in this process, and matches with Manchester City and Leverkusen showed, that we achieved a certain level, which we wish to keep to for several weeks. I’m a bit surprised by how fast players accepted my ideas, I supposed, that it will take more time for this. But already now game level of FC Bayern is very, very high. Of course, not in every match and still not in all periods of playing time, but nevertheless, I can say: I am delighted by what our team shows on the field.

— Public is already very excited about the style of FC Bayern. But what per cent of the very football of Pep Guardiola does the team show now?
— In matches with City and Leverkusen there were very large periods, which corresponded to my idea about what I want to see. But one must not already calm down now, because in order to stabilize the game on this level, we have to work a lot and hard. And nevertheless I’ll repeat: as a new coach I didn’t suppose, that already in October we would play in such a manner.

— But you still can not involve Götze, Martínez and Thiago to the full extent. Whether FC Bayern will be stronger with those three or not?
— I am confirmed that we will play much better, when all these players will be in optimal form. But we can compete for the title only in case if each player from this magnificent squad will accept my decisions. Otherwise problems can occur.

— Does it mean that here you are not only a coach, but also the main motivator for players?
— I am a great friend for football players, when they accept what I say to them. I will always support those, who understand my decisions. Those, who will not want to understand, will often sit on a tier. I always repeat: we need every player! And recently we played really well. But from the point of view of the whole season it is not very correct, when during a week, for example, Ribéry or Lahm has been playing three times for ninety minutes in a run. The more players I have, the easier it is to vary the squad.

— People say that you think about football twenty-four hours. How much time do you spend to choose from all your stars 11 people of starting line-up for a play?
— I am sure that every coach thinks about football day and night around. I mind my own affairs, because it is at the very heart of mine. Football coach can not reckon on eight-hour shift, in order to go home at 05.00 p.m. and have a rest. Sometimes two hours in my study are enough for me in order to settle my mind; and sometimes it takes 20 hours to find a solution. But starting line-up, as a rule, comes to my mind fast enough.

— So, does the variant come spontaneously?
—The line-up is rather not a product of brain activity, but of intuition and complex of feelings. Just because of this players sometimes do not understand coach’s decisions (laughing). Each coach should have the flair in order to make the right choice. But the right choice can seem differently for all coaches.

Became a football player for the sake of a ball

— In summer of 2012 you went to New York to take a time-out and have a rest from football. Why did you flair bring you to FC Bayern, but not to England, Italy or France?
— When I was first called from Munich, I understood already in two seconds: I should agree! I didn’t have right to miss the opportunity to work with such a team, in such a club. And if I didn’t say «yes» immediately, scarcely somebody would call me from FC Bayern for the second time.

— Do you think that today FC Bayern is the most perspective club in the world football?
— Yes, it is hard for a coach to speak about future. Maybe, in the next season someone else will sit in my Munich study. In club museum this team has an innumerable quantity of silverwares exhibited, and only in the last season it won over three, provided that it was impossible to win more! That is why now we are not only responsible for a result but also should show beautiful football. For now everything goes well enough, but when we begin to play worse, Kalle and Uli will come and say: «Pep, thank you very much, you can fly back to New York!» And it is normal for such a large club. That is why my future sounds so: Mainz, Plzen, Berlin (the interview was recorded before those matches — Step by step — is the best way.

— Let’s come out of the fact that in the next season you will stay in Munich. What will become a success for you at the end of the season?
— Or course, win in the championship, everyone wants it. But I also want to see that the team plays according to my ideas. Our fans should know that we leave our hearts on the field. Just in such club as FC Bayern, which became a champion so often, it is especially important. To save the title in the Champions League will be not simple — it is sufficient to remember that since 1976 the club only two times — in 2001 and at the moment — had achieved this success. That is why two things are especially important for me: to entertain our viewers properly at Allianz-Arena and that at least one player in our team will come to a conclusion by the end of the season: he began to play better in my presence.

— Would you like to play in the final of the Champions League — 2014 against Barcelona?
— Sooner or later these teams will meet against each other. On the way to the victory in the Champions League you will inevitably meet Barça, Real or Borussia Dortmund. Of course, meeting with Barcelona, where I spent all my career, will be special for me. But at the moment I think not about the final — but only about how to get out of the group in the round of last 16.

— Let us imagine that your Barça of 2011 with all its six titles meets with the present FC Bayern. Who will possess the ball more?
— A good question! (Laughing). For four years Barça had won 14 cups and trophees. And that team did not only show an incredible football, but also had a strong character. And including for this I respect very much my new team. The one is clear: there, where I worked, players always wanted to control the ball. For example, why did I become a football player? I wanted to be with the ball! As a coach I interpret this in the same way and I am absolutely confirmed: if players understand, that they play keep-ball excellently, they can run on the field 24 hours per day, feeling no fatigue. Because they will enjoy football.

There are no secrets in Munich

— What is the difference between football in La Liga and in Bundesliga?
— Almost all players in Germany are strong from physical point of view, because of this it is much more difficult to player against them «one to one». In Bundesliga far more they play in counter-attacks, often set pieces play the defining role, which is also determined by athleticism. On the whole high level of local teams became a surprise for me. And especially I liked the atmosphere at stadiums, which are always full. Holiday is secured for all spectators, people come with families, and, it seems to me, there are much less hostile fan groups here. In other words, an image formed, that Bundesliga — is the strongest and the most spectacular league in the world.

— If to speak not about sport, if there are things, which surprised you in Germany?
— A great difference is — journalists, which behave themselves much calmer here, then in Spain, including at press-conferences too. Also trainings, which are open for spectators, are a novelty for me, because I didn’t ever hear about them. I know that it is a part of culture of FC Bayern, and that is why I should adapt to it. Before matches I, like my predecessor, want to hold trainings in secrecy, but it is not so easy to carry out here, on Saebnerstrasse (laughing and showing with a hand from the window to the upland, adjacent to training fields). On the whole I am very satisfied with the conditions for trainings and enjoy the work with all people, who are involved in the process. All club workers help me very much.

— In your presence the star of Lionel Messi rose in Barcelona. Do you have long-term plans in respect of any player of FC Bayern in order to place him to the sky?
— I can be whatsoever a good coach, but it depends only on the player, whether he become great or not. His brilliant talent was laid in Leo from his birth, and I just helped him on his way.

— You put the corner-back Philipp Lahm to the position of holding half-back almost from the beginning of the season. Does it mean that he will stay at this position with you?
— We lost three players in this position at once — Javi Martínez, Schweinsteiger, Thiago were injured. There was something to be done in order to stabilize defensive play. Herewith one can won some or other game at the expense of good attack which you have, or owing to coordinated defensive play. But one can not constantly win without qualified halfbacks. Lahm played several times at the position of «the sixth number» in the course of pre-season preparation and always looked worthy there. I think that Philipp is one of the most intelligent players in the world and I am confirmed one hundred per cent that after a short adaptation he can be one of the best in every position. Without Lahm there would be no wonderful matches with City and Leverkusen. Of course, when the main players will come back, he will return to his former position, but I am soothed by the awareness that Philipp can also play in the centre at any time. Herewith I am also very happy that from the corner we have Rafinha!

— It is because he successfully replaced Lahm in the right, isn’t it?
— For the last weeks Rafinha was a very important player for me, he played several matches at the highest level. I will never forget how he came out, when I fielded him for the first time at the very end for a couple of minutes. It seemed, that those were the most important moments of life for him! I was so pleased how he simply bridled and was enraged with his first action on the field, which was faulty. He never gives up, and that’s why I trust him!

Hesse and Hoeness on one shelf

— FC Bayern has the oldest traditions, it is one of the most glorious clubs of the world, for which Beckenbauer, Maier, Müller, Matthäus, Lizarazu, Kahn played for. Let’s face it, did you begin to watch for FC Bayern already in childhood or in the adulthood?
— Of course, from the childhood, everybody was aware, what a great club it was. But it’s one thing — you know about the club, and the other — to worship it, even just to love it. It is almost loved by those who worked in the club. Hermann Gerland is here (one of Guardiola’s assistants. —, who tells me about the club’s history. He is the best teacher in topic, how to love the club.

—You have been living in New York for the whole year. How did you find Munich after such a cheerful past-time?
— Munich is absolutely different from New York! (Laughing.) But you know it has a look of Barcelona. There is no sea, beach here, but Munich is also very beautiful. It is important for me, that the whole my family feels wonderful here, including children. Every day they come from the school happy. I hope, that I will work in FC Bayern for a long time in order to know better the city and surroundings.

— What is your favorite place here?
— Well, I haven’t made special discoveries yet, but the one thing I can say: I go to restaurants often, food is — super! The firm of our president Uli Hoeness makes especially great wieners, simply delicious! I also enjoyed the atmosphere of Oktoberfest. But on the whole it is worth admitting that the large part of my life goes on Saebnerstrasse, and when I come home tired, I spend my time with family with great pleasure.

— Do you feel closer attention to yourself, when you walk on the street?
— No, people keep a very low profile. Sometimes they ask for an autograph or a joint photo, but always very politely. Yes, they are supporters of FC Bayern, but at the same time they respect another person’s private space, and I like it very much.

—But you scarcely use the tube!
— Have not ridden it yet. But in New York there was some day, when we were without a car. No problems, because football in New York is — not a mass kind of sport. There it is more likely to hunt for the stars. Here the club gave me such a luxurious car, so... (Laughing.)

— There were rumours that you and your family was looking for a large house in the country...
— I’ve heard about it, but it is really only rumours. We feel wonderfully in the city, and we absolutely don’t need a castle in the country to spend weekends there — because I spend my weekends at stadiums!

— You are interested in literature and art, and that is why you are aware of Immanuel Kant’s theory. Is it so?
— These are also rumours (Laughing). I read Kant at school, but not for pleasure, just because it was necessary. But it is truth, that I like to read, especially novels. My teacher in German in New York presented me two German books. One by — Hermann Hesse. The other — biography of Uli Hoeness. But I may say that I haven’t read them yet...

— Nevertheless your German is great. Do you continue studies?
— The club gave me a teacher. But it is hard to find time for lessons in daily heavy work schedule. So every day I learn from players, assistants, personnel. I will never forget the evening before my first press-conference here. I was very nervous! I felt prepared, finally in New York I have been studying German every day for three hours. But nevertheless — when there are so many people speaking German, situation is simply extreme! Also the moment, when I first spoke to players, was not simple. Probably, after all everyone understood me, because nobody asked something again...

Choice of Josep Guardiola

Sea and beach or mountains and lakes?

— Mountains and lakes. But let the sun be, please!

Tapas or wieners from Uli Hoeness?

— I have been eating tapas all my life, and I like them, but wieners from Uli... I am always short of them! So spontaneous answer: wieners!

Red wine or beer?

—Wine. I liked local beer very much, but nevertheless I prefer wine.

The material is prepared by press service of football club «Bayern» (Munich). Translation of Ivan Zhidkov.

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