The 44-year-old admits he might not celebrate if his side score at Camp Nou but insists he won’t allow emotion to cloud his thinking
Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola says he isn’t returning to Barcelona on Wednesday for a tribute and is fully focused on knocking his former club out of Europe.
The former Blaugrana coach faces his old side for the first time since leaving in 2012, as the two teams meet at Camp Nou in the first-leg of their Champions League semi-final.
The pre-match build-up has been dominated by Guardiola’s return to Catalunya – where he enjoyed success as both a player and coach – but though he admits it will be an emotional night, he is refusing to allow sentiment to get in the way of his ultimate goal.
“It’s wonderful to be back,” he said on Tuesday.
“Obviously it’s very special for me because I have been at this club for many years. Now I am with Bayern and I am here for the match tomorrow – that’s my job and I have to do my best.
“I knew that if I coached great clubs that there would be a possibility to return here. This is the first time of course. I am not here for a tribute. I am here to do my job.
“We have to score, it will be difficult to play well in Munich if we don’t score here. We need at least one goal. It’s virtually impossible to just defend here.
“Barcelona are an important part of my life but I am here to win. We have prepared to give our best and I will be very happy if we score a goal, but I don’t know what my reaction will be.”
The current Barcelona side still contains many of the names who worked under Guardiola between 2008 and 2012, and the 44-year-old admitted his inside knowledge may well be an advantage.
He continued: “It’s hard to find weak points with so much talent. Barca always want to have the ball. We’ll see who comes out on top there and reaches the final.
“They have enormously talented players, they are the ones taking decisions on the pitch. Their players know me. But they don’t know my players. Maybe we can surprise them.”
Bayern head into the game with a host of first team players missing through injury, including forward pair Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, as well as defender David Alaba.
Striker Robert Lewandowski is also a doubt, but Guardiola refused to use their respective absences as an excuse for a potentially below-par display.
“If we had complained about injuries, we wouldn’t have won the Bundesliga already, we wouldn’t have reached the semi-finals of the German Cup or these semi-finals. I have never complained about bad luck with injuries and I won’t do it now.
“I’m going to talk today about who’s playing tomorrow and who isn’t. [Robert] Lewandowski has trained and I will speak to him [before deciding if he will feature]. I need all my players to be 100 per cent fit.”