Bayern Munich’s Thomas Müller has worked under a variety of managers in his career and each has left an imprint in one way or another on the star.
When discussing Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola in a recent interview with the Daily Mail, Müller talked over how the fabled tactician would often change his game plans or strategies very early on in games.
“Pep Guardiola always had a plan with us, and after 10 minutes, we have five or four different plans more, he changed everything. He watched the opponent and thinks: ‘Oh my first plan wasn’t good enough’ or ‘my first plan didn’t work’,” Müller said. “The game also develops off the pitch, the coaches try to be more systematic, and they are maybe better prepared more on the details. Maybe coaches in earlier times tried to give a good feeling to the team, they know to handle with the players, to keep them confident, and psychological, put them in a good position, but I think the tactical things, the whole business is more systematic.”
Guardiola’s move to Bayern Munich came at crucial time at the club, but Müller said Guardiola did not let any of Bayern Munich’s players rest on their laurels.
“Our advantage was that Pep came after our big win in 2013. Jupp Heynckes had retired and Pep tried everything to be successful. So we had no time to rest on our success, because Pep kicked our ass in every training session, as he wants to show the whole world that in the new league he could do it again,” Müller said. “That was important for this period to win the league. After Pep, we had two or three years, including last year, when the other teams had their chance, maybe. We had weak moments, or weak weeks but they didn’t use it. Maybe we were a little bit lucky... I don’t know how to explain... or maybe we were just better.”
As far as how Guardiola impacted his players, Müller detailed Guardiola’s philosophy for how — and when — the game shifted from his control to that of the players on the pitch.
“I don’t know the situation right now in City, but in our times, Pep Guardiola said: ‘I bring you to the box and after that you have to show me your talent and your feeling.’ So, he plans and prepares everything until maybe 20 meters in front of the goal,” said Müller. “We had players [like] Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, Mario Gomez, Mario Mandzukic, Mario Götze, myself, Douglas Costa … and he said: “I bring you to this line, and then you have to do the rest of the job.”’