Thomas Tuchel insisted there was nothing personal about his decision to bench Thomas Muller for both legs of Bayern Munich’s Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City.
The 33-year-old was omitted from the starting line-up in Manchester and Munich, and Bayern slipped to a 4-1 aggregate defeat to slide out at the last-eight stage for a third consecutive season.
Muller is the most decorated player in Bayern’s history, winning 11 Bundesliga titles and two Champions League crowns during his stellar career with the Bavarians.
He has a chance of another domestic league title this season, but that is all Bayern have left to challenge for after their European exit and defeat to Freiburg in the DFB-Pokal quarters.
It would be a calamity if recently appointed Tuchel fell out with club legend Muller, but the coach denies there is any problem between the pair. Indeed, he said he was “extremely impressed” with how Muller accepted his team selections.
“I am a big Thomas Muller fan myself. He has a world-class indefinability,” Tuchel said in Friday’s pre-match press conference.
“The Manchester games haven’t suited him perfectly. Otherwise, he probably would have played. Many games are Muller games.
“Everything is OK at the moment. I was pleased with his reaction on the training ground yesterday. I was extremely impressed. He handled it in an exemplary manner. He just stepped on the gas and pulled the team along.
“But I have to make my decisions, sometimes they are hard. There is no personal note in it. Everyone has to accept it in a competitive situation.”
Müller knows what it takes to score against City #packmas pic.twitter.com/7Rym2KbOwj
— FC Bayern Munich (@FCBayernEN) April 9, 2023
Muller, who made brief substitute appearances in both City games, is likely to start on Saturday when Tuchel goes up against Mainz, one of the Bayern coach’s former clubs.
Tuchel has called on Bayern to show more swagger in their remaining games, saying the team have lacked “a dash of determination and a dash of egoism”.
“It’s important how the team handles the situation. A lot has happened this season,” said Tuchel. “The team has experienced a lot.”
Bayern lead the Bundesliga by two points from Borussia Dortmund with six rounds of games remaining, and Tuchel stressed the domestic league must not be seen as a consolation prize for a team who craved European glory.
“I experienced it myself in Paris [when coaching Paris Saint-Germain], how sad it is that the championship is taken for granted,” Tuchel said.
“It must not be taken for granted. Sure, we won’t be celebrated as if an underdog became champion. We will not artificially downplay our claim to become champions.
“A championship is less prone to failure because you have time over a longer period of time. We fight for the title. We shouldn’t be ashamed of that.”
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Soccernews.com is news blog for soccer with comprehensive coverage of all the major leagues in Europe, as well as MLS in the United States. In addition we offer breaking news for transfers and transfer rumors, ticket sales, betting tips and offers, match previews, and in-depth editorials.
You can follow us on Facebook: Facebook.com/soccernews.com or Twitter: @soccernewsfeed.