Former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel believes Pep Guardiola got lucky at Barcelona, and that Bayern Munich were a far more exciting team to watch before he came along.
When Guardiola took over the reins at the Allianz, Bayern had just won the treble under Jupp Heynckes, who decided to retire after that magical season.
The Spaniard went on to win the Bundesliga for all the three seasons he was there, from 2014-2016. He also won the DFB-Pokal twice. Yet, that wasn’t enough to convince Schmeichel, who believes Bayern were far more exciting and direct under Heynckes and became boring under Guardiola.
“He was okay at Bayern Munich. I have to say he was okay,” he told Omnisport. “For me, personally, he changed a really good, entertaining team to become more boring to watch.
“Whereas Bayern before were very direct, they won the treble, had quick players and were exciting to watch, he [Guardiola] made them play more square. He changed the players, but you can’t argue with his results.”
Before his success at Bayern, Guardiola gained his reputation as one of the best managers in the world at Barcelona during a trophy-laden four-year spell. He led the club to three La Liga titles, two Copa Del Rey titles as well as two Champions League titles.
However, Schmeichel, who became one of the greatest goalkeepers of his time while at Manchester United, believes Guardiola got lucky at Barcelona. He had players like Xavi, Iniesta, Lionel Messi and David Villa to help him integrate his style of play at the club.
“With Pep, he comes in with an incredible reputation. What he did with Barcelona was fantastic, his work was fantastic, but he was also very lucky he had the players to bring in the philosophy that he has in football.
“So whereas [former United manager] Alex Ferguson’s first priority was ‘we have to be able to score goals’ – for most coaches that’s the priority – with Pep it’s possession, I want to have as much possession as possible.
“So the philosophy goes to ‘I want to have so much possession that at some point we’ll score a goal from that, the goals will come from possession’ and that’s his philosophy.
“That’s what we’ll see at Manchester City or he’s going to introduce that. He was very lucky he had the players at Barcelona but he was clever in what he did.
“The Premier League is a completely different animal to any other in the world. It just goes on and on and on, you feel it never stops, even in March you have 12 games to go, you think will this ever stop?”