Lahm defends Bayern`s `top` Guardiola

Last Updated: Friday, May 16, 2014 - 16:42

Berlin: Captain Philipp Lahm has defended Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola following criticism from France winger Franck Ribery on the eve of Saturday`s German Cup final against Borussia Dortmund.

Despite having wrapped up this season`s Bundesliga title in record time, Bayern`s hopes of defending their Champions League title were ended by their 4-0 semi-final home defeat to Real Madrid when Guardiola admitted he made a "big mistake" in his selection.

Bayern are looking to claim their fourth title this season at Berlin`s Olympic Stadium in the cup final having already secured the league, Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup titles.

Borussia lead this season`s series between the two teams, which has been dubbed Germany`s "Der Klassiker", with two victories to one having beaten Bayern in August`s German Super Cup final and enjoyed a 3-0 league win in Munich in April.

Earlier this week, Ribery told German magazine Kicker that he was unhappy with Guardiola`s rotation system and criticised the lack of regular matches, but Lahm has said Guardiola is the right man for the job.

"This man is top-top-top," Lahm told Munich-based newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung after Guardiola took over from predecessor Jupp Heynckes in June.

"He came to us at the right time.

"If we wanted to play things tight at the back and only counter-attack, then he wouldn`t have been the right coach, but I find his playing ideas fit perfectly to a club like Bayern."

Under Guardiola, Bayern have developed a playing system based on possession and maximum control with all 10 outfield players moving up into the opponents half and even goalkeeper Manuel Neuer often well out of his area.

"I think it`s fantastic," said Lahm.

"100 passes, 100 ball contacts, while giving the opponent no ball to play with and no room to move -- that makes football fun."

Having dominated for the majority of the season, the frailties of Guardiola`s system were exposed by Real and Dortmund who counter-attacked quickly and capitalised on any opportunities which came their way.

"Because we are often defending so high up the field, if someone is a bit slow to react in a given situation then it can give our opponents a huge chance," admitted Lahm.

The Bayern captain said Guardiola`s system works well, but it is up the players to make sure it functions properly.

"It`s a wonderful system, I love it very much, but you have to play at 100 percent," said Lahm, who found himself regularly moved from his customary right-back position to defensive midfield throughout the season by Guardiola.

"For three-quarters of the season, we were praised across Europe for our dominance for the amount of goals we scored and the few we conceded.

"I am convinced that our style of play is exactly the right one."

AFP

First Published: Friday, May 16, 2014 - 16:42

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