Niko Kovac praised Bayern Munich’s disciplined defensive performance against Liverpool but resolved to not revel in a tactical triumph with the job only half-finished in the Champions League.
Bundesliga champions Bayern left Anfield the happier of the teams on Tuesday after securing a 0-0 draw that puts them in a good position for the return leg of their last-16 tie, to be played at Allianz Arena on March 13.
Though they only occasionally threatened a patchwork Liverpool defence and failed to register a shot on goal, a Bayern side which has avoided defeat in five of six matches since the mid-season break will fancy their chances of overcoming the Premier League outfit.
Bayern head coach Kovac commended his players for subduing the home side while warning against viewing the result as a victory.
“It is half-full, half-empty,” Kovac said. “I can’t remember that many clubs have not lost and not conceded at Anfield and the way Liverpool played, they are a sensationally good team.
“My team in defence and as a whole kept everything tight at the back and played at a high level, tactically and mentally.
“We didn’t score but we didn’t let one in. We are at home now, we will play in front of 75,000. We know if we concede, we have to win.
“At this level, very small differences can decide everything so we will wait and see.
0 – Each of Bayern Munich’s last three visits to Anfield in European competition have finished 0-0, with the Germans now having failed to score in all four of their away games against Liverpool. Null. pic.twitter.com/TSw30k59mK
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 19, 2019
“I said before, we played a really good performance against a top opponent and they were in the final last year and that is a great performance. We don’t have to hide.
“We have got the quality and we have showed that over recent years, but we haven’t achieved anything. I am the last person to start celebrating. We are modest, focused and have to give 100 percent in the next game.”
The two coaches were involved in a moment of confusion at full-time when the Bayern boss left Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp waiting on the touchline for the traditional post-match handshake.
Kovac explained the incident as nothing more than a harmless misunderstanding.
“That was funny,” he said. “We were on English soil. In Germany it is normal when games end, you shake hands with your players.
“In England, first the coaches shake hands, [but] I did what I do in Germany, said sorry and made up for it, and in Germany we will do it as we do it in Germany.”
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