Kovac defends tactics after Lewandowski criticism

By Sports Desk March 15, 2019

Niko Kovac has defended his tactics in Bayern Munich's Champions League defeat to Liverpool after criticism from Robert Lewandowski.

Bayern left Anfield last month with what was widely regarded as a commendable 0-0 draw, but they were second best in Wednesday's return leg in Munich, losing 3-1 to Jurgen Klopp's side.

An angry Lewandowski was left with little doubt that the team's tactics were to blame, saying: "I think we played too deep, didn't want to make too many risks, and I don't know why."

Kovac disagrees with Lewandowski's assessment, however, and believes that Bayern were simply beaten by the better team.

"The approach was exactly the same as against Wolfsburg or Borussia Monchengladbach [games they won resoundingly] so I cannot agree with the criticism," he told a media conference ahead of Bayern's Bundesliga clash with Mainz on Sunday.

"We played against a better opponent who deserved to win.

"We did not get the support he [Lewandowski] needs. We played against the best defence in the Premier League.

"We can only be as good as the opponent allows and if you have few balls as a striker, disappointment is normal."

A run of 12 wins in their last 13 league games has lifted Bayern above Borussia Dortmund on goal difference at the Bundesliga summit and Kovac does not believe Wednesday's disappointment will derail their bid for a seventh consecutive title.

"We're doing well in both competitions [Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal] and we've made up 10 points," he added. "They are all professionals and they have the quality to turn the disappointment into victories.

"I expect a difficult game. Mainz is an uncomfortable team, but my team has shown that they keep coming back.

"We have to break their resistance and win the game so the players can relax and go to their national teams."

Related items

  • No offers yet for Jovic, insist Frankfurt No offers yet for Jovic, insist Frankfurt

    Eintracht Frankfurt are yet to receive an offer for striker Luka Jovic, according to a senior club official.

    Barcelona are reportedly readying a €50million bid for the Serbia international, who scored his side's goal in the 1-1 friendly draw with Germany this week.

    Manchester City have also been linked with Jovic, who has scored 15 goals in only 18 Bundesliga starts in 2018-19.

    However, Frankfurt's supervisory board chairman Wolfgang Steubing says they have not yet received any offer for the prized 21-year-old.

    "The numbers that are rampant across social media are not yet on our table," said Steubing at a panel discussion in Frankfurt.

    "There is definitely no offer. But maybe that will happen."

    Jovic is on loan at Frankfurt from Benfica, but the Bundesliga club have the option to sign the player outright for a reported €7m fee.

    Barca are favourites to secure his signature as they seek a long-term successor to Luis Suarez.

  • Jamaica Olympic Association covers salaries for OIympic football coaches Jamaica Olympic Association covers salaries for OIympic football coaches

    The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) on Tuesday presented the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) with a cheque for JMD$3.5million that will cover the salaries of the coaches of the men’s national Under-23 football team - Donovan Duckie and Merron Gordon.

  • O'Neill wants more goal threat from Northern Ireland O'Neill wants more goal threat from Northern Ireland

    Michael O'Neill wants Northern Ireland to be more 'polished' in the final third after his side beat Estonia 2-0 in their first Euro 2020 qualifier.

    Niall McGinn's strike and a Steven Davis penalty earned Northern Ireland three points in their Group C opener on Thursday, as they claimed a first competitive victory in nine matches.

    Profligacy frustrated Northern Ireland throughout their UEFA Nations League campaign, and Paddy McNair missed two gilt-edged chances to make the win more comfortable, with only a fine save from Bailey Peacock-Farrell keeping the hosts ahead before Davis made sure of the points.

    And O'Neill, who was impressed by his side's patience, acknowledged that Northern Ireland must be more clinical if they are to qualify from a group that also includes heavyweights Germany and Netherlands.

    "Delighted with the result. It wasn't going to be a straight-forward game, and we didn't score early – Paddy had a great chance and he knows he should score," O'Neill told reporters.

    "Once you get the opening goal it takes a bit of the tension out of it and the team can start to relax a little bit, and because we didn't manage to get that in the first half Estonia had a bit of belief.

    "Second half I think we played very well, created opportunities, scored a good goal and deserved the penalty as well.

    "It was very important [to be patient]. It's difficult having chances and not taking them – subconsciously you think something might go the other way.

    "But we know as a team we need to improve at times in the final third. The final ball at times, there were some great balls but we didn’t seem to get anything on those. We need to be more polished in the final third.

    "We just need to threaten more in behind, at times the combination between full-back and winger as well and the final combination and finish needs to be more polished."

    Northern Ireland face Belarus in their next Euro 2020 qualifier on Sunday, before taking on both Estonia and Belarus once more in June.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.