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Guardiola tempering expectations for United
by Ridge Mahoney, April 8th, 2014 8:35PM
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TAGS:  bayern munich, manchester united, uefa champions league


[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Wednesday] A day before hosting Manchester United in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals, Barcelona head coach Pep Guardiola didn’t sound like the man in charge of the favorite.

“We have to make sure we keep our form, we can't allow to happen what happened in Manchester, we must not concede a goal,” said Guardiola of the 1-1 aggregate score at Old Trafford last week. “We spoke with the team about what to do to win. We have to attack very well. They will wait until we lose the ball and then they will try to counterattack. So we have to be very focused. We had some good chances in Manchester, they just had one.”

Bayern had to rally with a Bastian Schweinsteiger goal midway through the second half after defender Nemanja Vidic had provided a 1-0 lead in the 58th minute. Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez are suspended for the second leg, which adds a burden to that already shouldered by Toni Kroos, whose name last month was linked to Manchester United as a possible move in the summer.

Two impressive streaks ended for Bayern Saturday in the Bundesliga, the championship of which has already been secured. A 1-0 home defeat to FC Augsburg stopped Bayern's 53-match unbeaten run in the league, which dates back to October 2012. The defeat also marked the first time in 65 league games -- and 60 matches in all competitions – it had not scored.

United has recently recovered its momentum after several shaky months under the tutelage of David Moyes, whose stature as successor to Alex Ferguson looked mighty tenuous a month or so ago. Juan Mata, acquired from Chelsea during the January transfer window and not much of a factor since, netted his first two goals for the club in a 4-0 thrashing of Newcastle United on Saturday.

Top European scorer Robin Van Persie (four goals) is sidelined, and Wayne Rooney has been bothered by a chipped bone in his foot that could send him to the substitutes’ bench. He has scored twice in his eight appearances. On Tuesday, Moyes said Rooney will take a painkilling injection for the condition, which he sustained in the first leg. He was able to join the team for its final training session prior to taking on Barcelona.

“We think it's OK because we wouldn't do anything wrong," the manager said. “We take advice from our doctors. Everybody knows the character Wayne is and the kind of player he is. He is determined to play and if he is determined we would be mad not to [play him].”

1 comment
  1. Ross Ulmer
    commented on: April 9, 2014 at 2:12 p.m.
    Apparently, according to the article, Moyes is going to have to face both Bayern and Barcelona. Tough task indeed.

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