Bayern Munich have “no more excuses”, interim captain Thomas Mueller told AFP after veteran German coach Jupp Heynckes took over as manager of the Bundesliga champions.
Heynckes, 72, came out of retirement to take charge of the squad — his fourth stint with Bayern — when Carlo Ancelotti was sacked after a stinging 3-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.
“A change of coach always releases energy, and I think we, the players, must now give a lot of ourselves. There are no more excuses,” said Mueller, at the Ingolstadt headquarters of Audi, a major sponsor of the club.
“The sacred fire is still there with Jupp Heynckes, he has given off a lot of energy since Monday with his team of coaches,” the striker added.
Heynckes has reunited the coaching team which in 2013 helped steer Bayern to win the only ever treble of the Bundesliga, Champions League and German Cup titles.
According to the German press, the Bayern stars were critical of Ancelotti’s soft training methods, but Mueller said the team have enjoyed the sessions under Heynckes.
“So far we’ve trained very well,” he said. “We had two intensive sessions and we had a lot of fun.”
Bayern are currently second in the Bundesliga, but already five points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund after just seven matches. The defeat in Paris also brought into question the team’s ability to play at the highest European level.
Asked about the changes needed following Ancelotti’s dismissal, Mueller laughed, saying: “What to change? The results!”
Mueller is the current captain of Bayern in the absence of injured goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, but the German international was not in Ancelotti’s starting eleven as he struggled to find a role in the Italian’s system.
Explaining the team’s poor start by their standards, he said: “There are things that have not been 100 percent successful.
“In the last two matches of the Bundesliga, we led 2-0 twice and we drew both matches 2-2. Each time there were individual faults, perhaps due to difficulties in concentration, but we now have to be more rigorous collectively.”