LONDON – Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola insisted that his team “can play even better” than they did in their 6-1 thrashing of Porto in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Trailing 3-1 after the first leg in Portugal, Guardiola’s men erased the deficit inside 25 minutes, and they did so without top players such as Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery.
And so Guardiola, who extended his streak of reaching the Champions League semifinals in every season he has managed at both Bayern and Barcelona, said his current side still have room to improve.
“We are very, very happy about this performance, especially after recent weeks when we had our problems scoring goals. We can play even better,” he said.
Bayern mostly killed off the tie with five first-half goals, though a Jackson Martinez goal followed by a near miss had Guardiola shaking his head.
“In the second half they changed their system and we had our problems,” he said. “In the first half they had no chances, in the second they had some. In the Champions League you can never switch off.”
Guardiola said he never truly doubted that Bayern could rebound from their first-leg deficit to reach the semifinals for the fourth straight season.
“Even after the game in Porto I had the feeling that we could make it,” he said. “You always make up the difference in your head. I always try to analyse our opponents.
“It was not such a big surprise how they played in Porto. They have a very good team, but today they were not able to reach their level.”
Guardiola also reserved praise for Thiago Alcantara, who shone in only his third start this season after recovering from a knee injury.
“Thiago Alcantara really played very well out there tonight,” the manager said. “His strength is his mentality. After a year out, just imagine… he is back and he’s doing really well.” -ESPNFC