Bayern Munich midfielder, Alcántara Thiago has said the club still uses the same philosophies that former club manager Pep Guardiola used, three years ago.
The 28-year-old Brazilian is hoping for his sixth successive Bundesliga title with Bayern, when they fend off the challenge of Borussia Dortmund in the final four games.
Thiago have won the league under the tutelage of Carlo Ancelotti and Guardiola and now aiming for another with Niko Kovac who replaced Jupp Heynckes.
The midfield ace says Guardiola has had the biggest impact on the club.
“He definitely left his mark at the club because he and his ideas have shaped us enormously as a team,
“You can feel it on the pitch. In some match situations, we still do things he taught us. But I think that we have managed to take the positives from each of our coaches and combine them.”
Describing him as the finest coach on the planet, Guardiola took Thiago from Barcelona in the summer of 2013 and he says that the current Manchester City manager has been the biggest influence on his career.
“Pep made it possible for me to move up from Barca’s youth academy to Barca’s first team. He taught me a lot. Anyone who comes to the professional team as a young player has to learn day-by-day.
“With him as a coach, you learn much faster and with more detail. He was a great help for me from the beginning, also here at Bayern. He is one of the best coaches in the world, if not the best. And I’m sure he’ll give football a lot in the next few years.”
Bayern’s style of play may have been tweaked since Guardiola departed after three seasons in the Bavarian capital,but Thiago still believes that controlling a game is the best way to achieve success.
“Whether you call it Tiki-Taka, Taka-Taka, or whatever, it’s important for me to control the match in every situation,” he added. “In other words, if we are in possession of the ball, it must be clear to us that we still have to defend well.
“And if the opponent has the ball, we have to be ready to force him to make mistakes and take advantage of those mistakes. This superiority – with or without a ball – is the most important thing for me. If we have this superiority, we succeed – regardless of the playing style with a lot or a little less ball possession.”
Sitting a point better off than Dortmund in the final month of Bundesliga fixtures, Thiago says that despite Munich having to play third and fourth-placed RB Leipzig and Eintracht Frankfurt, they remain favourites for the title.
“A few weeks ago, we were eight points behind Dortmund. Now we are one point ahead of them. I am optimistic that we will become champions again because we have become champions in the past six years and are currently in great shape,he said
Bayern were, however, dumped out of the Champions League in pretty emphatic fashion by semi-finalists Liverpool, and Thiago insists he and his team-mates simply weren’t good enough over the two legs.
“We lacked many things. Heart, courage, football. If you want to be successful against such an opponent, you have to focus more and give 100 per cent. I did not like our performance in the first leg. It is very difficult to play at Anfield, but we were too defensive.
“Sure, you get a 0-0, you defend well but nothing happened in front of the opponent’s goal. We did not play well in both legs.
“With Manchester City eliminated, Barca and Liverpool are the clear favourites for me. I personally like Ajax very much. They play an impressive offensive football, added the Brazilian.