Pep Guardiola believes Atletico Madrid have reached the level of Real Madrid and Barcelona and that is their greatest accomplishment.
Guardiola’s Bayern Munich are preparing to play at Vicente Calderon in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final and the ex-Barca Coach was asked at his pre-match Press conference how Diego Simeone’s side have become such a power.
“It’s five years since I left Spain. You know more than I do. They show consistency. It’s hard, year after year, to win. Only the big teams do that. It’s the best title they’ve been able to achieve. When they play Madrid and Barca, you don’t know who the favourite is,” Guardiola said, AS reports.
“They had a fantastic year with Raddy Antic but the difference is the duration, staying there for so many years. Anyone in sport can win for a year. The difficult part is being there year after year. They have managed that. I like what they do. They do everything well.
“Are they defensive? They do many things. I haven’t played against them for five years. From what I’ve seen they give the impression they control almost everything. They do a lot, not just defend.
“They dominate at set-pieces. Koke is a great set-piece taker, and they have people who aren’t tall, but attack the ball with conviction. They close the spaces well, push up high, they’ve competed for the League, in Europe and the Copa del Rey for three years. To do that you have to do almost everything right. We’ll try to harm them. The Coaches do what they can, but it’s the players who will win this.”
Guardiola is set to leave Bayern at the end of the season to take over at Manchester City, who drew 0-0 with Real Madrid on Tuesday in the other semi-final, and he accepts he has to win the Champions League with Bayern for his time in Germany to be considered a success.
“It’s been ok, three years, three semi-finals. I know from what I read in the Press that if we don’t win the Champions League, my work won’t be finished,” Guardiola noted.
“I’ve been very lucky to experience what I have in Germany. I think I’m a better Coach and a better person, calmer.”