Sky Sports Monday Night Football team of Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher took a few minutes during today’s broadcast to analyze Bayer Munich manager Pep Guardiola’s tactical approach to last week’s Champions League semi-final first leg against Barcelona.
Despite the fact that Bayern have been dealing with a massive injury toll – which has left Guardiola’s squad depleted – many feel the manager made a number of mistakes before and during the match at the Camp Nou.
Without the injured trio of Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and David Alba, Guardiola began the match man-marking Barcelona all over the pitch.
The one-on-one matchups between his defenders and Barcelona’s attacking trio of Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez led to goalkeeper Manuel Neuer having to bail Bayern Munich out with tremendous saves early on in the contest.
That said, the score remained 0-0 with 20 minutes to play before Guardiola altered his tactics by switching to a back-four; and if it weren’t for a giveaway in his own half by left-back Juan Bernat, Barcelona may not have scored.
However, the mistake by the Bayern defender allowed Lionel Messi to open the scoring and the floodgates soon opened up on the German champions.
Speaking during today’s broadcast of Monday Night Football, Neville praised Guardiola for his approach to the match, while Bournemouth coach Eddie Howe (who was an in-studio guest) described the tactics’s as “fascinating” and “inspiring”.
However, Carragher expressed his amazement regarding Guardiola’s decision by once again calling it “madness”. While Neville also raised the question: Did the manager’s tactics gave Bayern Munich the best chance to return to the Allianz Arena with a chance to win the tie?
The two pundits looked back at Barcelona’s 2-2 draw against Athletic Bilbao from November 2011 when Guardiola was still in charge of the club. They wondered if the current Bayern boss drew his inspiration from that game.
Once again, the analysis from Neville and Carragher – as well as in-studio guest Bournemouth coach Eddie Howe – was must see television.