Guardiola praises Bayern despite Leverkusen defeat

Although his side suffered a defeat on Saturday, the coach felt nothing but pride for his young side ahead of their clash with Barcelona

Pep Guardiola paid tribute to the performances of his young Bayern Munich players, despite the Bundesliga champions going down 2-0 at Bayer Leverkusen.

Bayern’s defence of the league title was confirmed after Wolfsburg’s defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach last weekend, leading to head coach Guardiola handing opportunities to the likes of Mitchell Weiser, Rico Strieder and Gianluca Gaudino.

Leverkusen took full advantage as second-half goals from Hakan Calhanoglu and Julian Brandt were enough for a win at the Bay Arena.

But Guardiola was pleased with what he saw from his team.

“It was a very hard-fought and evenly-matched game,” he told reporters. 

“We needed to create more clear-cut chances. I’m very satisfied with my team and the performance we turned in.

“The young players also did very well indeed.”

With Bayern set to travel to Barcelona for their Champions League semi-final first leg on Wednesday, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer says the most pleasing aspect of the game was that the team came through without any injuries.

“We didn’t take our chances to score when we had them,” he said. “You can always fall behind to a free-kick when there’s such a good taker on the pitch.

“No-one getting injured was closest to our hearts. That was the most important thing of all.”