Pep Guardiola says he can handle the pressure to deliver the triple of Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup titles in his swansong season as Bayern Munich’s head coach.
“Everyone at Bayern Munich wants to win the triple, but it is just the same at Barcelona and Real Madrid,” said Guardiola ahead of Bayern’s home Champions League quarter-final against Benfica on Tuesday at Munich’s Allianz Arena.
“If we don’t win the triple, I won’t have fulfilled my task. I accept the pressure.”
Under Guardiola’s reign, Bayern have exited the semi-finals of the Champions League for the last two seasons at the hands of Real Madrid (2014) and Barcelona (2015).
But his comments contradict Bayern’s director of sport Matthias Sammer, who has publically insisted the Bavarian giants are not targeting a repeat of their 2013 treble.
Sammer was furious after ex-president Uli Hoeness suggested last month that Guardiola wants to sign off his three years in Munich with triple titles before taking over at Manchester City next season.
Guardiola won the Champions League in 2009 and 2011 during his four years as Barcelona coach which yielded 14 titles and he has so far added five more to his tally in Munich.
Bayern are five points clear in the German league with six games left and face Werder Bremen in the semi-finals of the German Cup in a fortnight.
But for now Guardiola is focused on reaching the semi-finals and rates the Benfica back four as “one of the best in Europe” while strikers Jonas and Konstantinos Mitroglou have scored 48 goals between them in the Portuguese league.
Benfica will be without injured first-choice goalkeeper Julio Cesar, while Bayern are missing Netherlands captain Arjen Robben and defender Medhi Benatia.