Former Bayern Munich star Lothar Matthaus has criticised Pep Guardiola’s methods and questioned his motives for leaving the club – although he wishes the coach was staying at the Allianz Arena.
Guardiola confirmed in December he will leave Bayern at the end of the season and, with the Bundesliga champions on course for a fourth consecutive title, Manchester City announced this week the 45-year-old will become their manager from 2016-17 on a three-year deal.
Matthaus suggested Guardiola’s switch to the Etihad Stadium is motivated by money but, despite also claiming the Catalan’s tactical approach is a source of “confusion”, he believes the ex-Barcelona boss is one of the finest coaches in the world.
“Perhaps he wanted a new challenge,” Matthaus told Sky Sports. “Of course I can understand Pep – his salary must be insane. And he wants to experience something new – despite the fact that he already had the best team in Europe.
“Bayern fulfilled every wish, no matter what Guardiola wanted: the players, the coaches and even the doctors.
“He caused much disturbance off the field. But he is one of the best coaches on the planet. With the amount of money in circulation, I can understand Pep.
“I am one of his critics, but I would have loved to see him in Munich for a longer time. He was always interesting and entertaining for the journalists. He improved the team in many areas, but on the other hand he caused confusion, [which] many people didn’t understand.”
Guardiola’s tactical innovations in Bavaria included deploying defenders Philipp Lahm and David Alaba in midfield roles – moves that have earned widespread acclaim but are not to Matthaus’s taste.
“I don’t like his system, it changes during the game,” he explained. “He uses players in different positions, even if they could play better with their normal position.
“I wouldn’t want to play as [a] left forward if I normally play right-back. For example David Alaba had to play as [a] central midfielder, despite the fact that he played his best games as [a] left-back.
“But you have to accept that. Guardiola was always successful, but in Munich he didn’t win the Champions League.”
Concluding his mixed appraisal of Guardiola, Matthaus added: “He should have signed another contract in Munich. He can work with a top team and the trust from the Bayern officials. But after his contract expired, he had every right to sign somewhere else.”