Guardiola: These have been the toughest months of my career

The Spaniard is on the verge of winning back-to-back Bundesliga titles but he is under pressure to bring the Champions League back to the Allianz Arena

Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola has described the last few months as the toughest of his career to date.

The Catalan is widely regarded as one of the most innovative tacticians in the game today, with his Barcelona side winning 14 trophies during his four-year stint in charge at Camp Nou between 2008 and 2012 with their short passing style.

Guardiola subsequently took a year’s sabbatical before taking charge of Bayern in 2013, and immediately led the Bavarians to a domestic double in his first season at the helm.

However, with Bayern having suffered a shocking 5-0 aggregate loss to Real Madrid in the semi-finals of last year’s Champions League, the former Spain international is now under pressure to win the European Cup, as well as the Bundesliga and the DFB-Pokal.

Guardiola has now admitted he has been feeling the heat ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Porto, who lead 3-1 after last week’s first leg at the Dragao.

“The last few months have been the most challenging of my managerial career – I have learned a lot about the passion of football,” the 44-year-old trainer told reporters on the eve of the decisive Champions League quarter-final showdown.

“March and April are the deciding months of the season and it’s the same for Porto, Juventus and every team.

“After the last few months of work, I can promise you we will give it a go against Porto. We have one more step to defend our Bundesliga title and tomorrow we’re one step away from a Champions League semi-final.

“I am completely convinced that they will take their chances tomorrow, and for me as the manager, that is enough.

“My players are my heroes and they will stay in my heart for the rest of my life.”

Guardiola also dismissed the suggestion that he had underestimated Julen Lopetegui’s side ahead of their trip to the Dragao.

“I was not surprised at Porto’s performance,” the former midfield ace stated. “They are an excellent club with excellent players. 

“But in 90 minutes everything is possible. Of course we’re behind but tomorrow is about performing on the pitch.”

Meanwhile, Guardiola revealed that Bastian Schweinsteiger has recovered from illness and is set to line out in midfield against Porto. 

However, he remains pessimistic about Franck Ribery’s hopes of playing any part, with the French winger still struggling with an ankle problem.

“Bastian can train with the team again today, so that’s good news for us,” he added. “But I don’t think that Franck can play.”