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Guardiola: Bayern didn´t lose because of Messi

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola insisted there is more to Barcelona than just Lionel Messi, despite the Argentine’s two-goal performance in the opening leg of Wednesday’s semi-final tie.

Barcelona took a stranglehold of proceedings in the UEFA Champions League clash after three late goals helped the home side to a 3-0 victory at Camp Nou.

Messi lived up to the pre-match hype, netting twice in the final 13 minutes, before setting up Neymar’s injury-time goal as Bayern’s resolve was finally broken in Barcelona.

Guardiola – facing the team he led to 14 major trophies for the first time since 2012 – refused to single out Messi for praise, telling reporters: “I will not say what I think of Messi. They are not just Leo, Barca are a very good team. 

“They were very solid, in defence and attack. They have great players, Neymar, Luis Suarez.

“We tried to control the game so that Messi would not participate so much. We were 15 minutes away from a very good result.

“I am very proud of this team, and these players. For three months we’ve had problems, reached here, won Bundesliga, competed as these players have done, for many years winning things.

“I have no reproach for them. Been a very difficult year, I really appreciate what they have done this year.”

Guardiola, whose Bayern crashed to a third consecutive defeat in all competitions for the first time since 2011, added: “We knew who we would be playing against, a team arriving in very good form. The best way to defend is to attack, it has worked well for us in the past.

“I could not come here and shut up shop. Against players at his level, Leo, and others, there is this possibility if you lose the ball close to your area.

“We lacked a little bit of incision up front, but I must just congratulate Barca for the win and prepare for Munich.”

Wed 6 May, 2015
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