Berlin: Bayern Munich boss Jupp Heynckes has admitted the German media frenzy, sparked by the announcement Pep Guardiola will coach the Bavarian giants next season, has not helped his side.
Last Wednesday, Bayern announced Guardiola will take charge as head coach on July 1, dominating the headlines here after the 42-year-old captured 14 titles during his four years in charge of Barcelona before stepping down last May.
With Bayern nine points clear in the Bundesliga, plus still involved in both the German Cup and Champions League, Heynckes will finish his two-year contract on June 30 and says the timing of the Guardiola announcement did not help.
“It would have been better to do this in the winter break,” the 67-year-old told Sky with the Bundesliga having resumed on Friday after a five-week break.
“Before Christmas, during the holidays, because of the media hype that might interfere with the normal working day.”
Bayern face a tough programme in the Bundesliga with VfB Stuttgart, Mainz, Schalke 04 and Wolfsburg to come before facing Arsenal in the Champions League’s last 16 away leg in London on February 19.
After Bayern laboured to a 2-0 home win against bottom side Greuther Fuerth on Saturday, Heynckes insisted he is in charge as rumours and speculation flow here about which top players will now come to work with Guardiola in Munich.
“Anyone who knows me, knows that I am the boss here. That has always been the case, no matter where I have worked,” said Heynckes.
With speculation also rife about who Guardiola’s two assistant coaches will be next season, Germany boss Joachim Loew said he has some sympathy for Heynckes.
“These discussions are also probably not easy for him,” said Loew.
Heynckes is not the only senior Bayern figure rattled by constant Guardiola-based questions.
“Since everyone seems to be going crazy about Guardiola, we need to draw the line somewhere and concentrate on football,” insisted president Uli Hoeness on Saturday.
Germany midfielder Thomas Mueller insisted Guardiola is not a topic for discussion until the Catalan takes charge.
“The name Pep Guardiola has no meaning here until a minute past midnight on July 1,” said Mueller.
“We have to finally put a lid on this. We have played a great season so far with Jupp Heynckes and will continue to do so.”
Munich captain Philipp Lahm also said on the subject of Guardiola he has no desire “to stand here and say something about him every week”, while most players said they want to win a title this season for Heynckes.