Pep Guardiola accepts there may be some truth to Thomas Muller's recent suggestion the Manchester City coach overthinks the opposition in the Champions League, but he feels it comes from a desire to not underprepare.
Muller played under Guardiola for three years during the Calatan coach's spell at Bayern Munich, and in a recent interview with The Athletic he suggested the incumbent City boss suffers from an inability to focus on one aspect.
The German forward claims Guardiola becomes conflicted, unsure whether to alter his tactics and set-up to fit the opponent in the biggest games, or stand by his trusted philosophy.
Muller feels such indecisiveness leads to confusion among players, and against the strongest teams that can prove fatal.
Up next for City and Guardiola is a trip to the Santiago Bernabeu to face Real Madrid in the Champions League last 16 first leg on Wednesday, and Guardiola acknowledges Muller may have a point, though he insists it should not be seen as a criticism.
"When an ex-player makes this kind of statement, it's not a criticism," Guardiola told reports in his pre-match news conference in Madrid. "It's information to me. I haven't played against Madrid for five years.
"It is true, sometimes I give too much, [but] Thomas and the other players can't say I don't prepare them for a game, at Barcelona, Bayern Munich or City, even in the games we lose.
"As a player, the more information I had, the better prepared I was to face them. It gave me confidence.
"Maybe he [Muller] is right, but I always try to make them confident."
Wednesday's match in Madrid will be City's first European outing since UEFA handed down a two-year Champions League ban for Financial Fair Play (FFP) breaches, which the club will appeal.
Ever since the punishment was confirmed, speculation has been rife about the future of Guardiola and many City players, but he remains adamant this season will not be his players' final opportunity to win the competition.
"No way. These players will have many opportunities to win," he said. "We play a big team. We know the challenge we have to face.
"It's not the last one. You never know what's going to happen. We have an opportunity, we try to be ourselves.
"The desire to win has to be there or it's impossible but it's just another game. That's all."Published 26 Feb 2020, 02:44 IST