Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich head coach Niko Kovac confessed using time wasting tactics during their 0-0 draw at Champions League opponents Liverpool on Tuesday.
Kovac admits Javi Martinez feigned cramp to “waste time” during the round 16 first-leg.
Kovac claimed the Spain midfielder’s dramatic “bit of acting” was all part of the game – and helped the struggling Bundesliga champions keep “calm” as the Reds pressed for a winner.
“We all know the drill: It’s close to the final whistle and you try to waste a bit of time,” Kovac told Sky after the match.
“Javi has good performance data, meaning he couldn’t have even had a cramp. That’s all a bit of acting.
“Recently in Berlin, Kingsley Coman also pretended to have a cramp but he didn’t.
“We have to bring calmness in the game. They do it well, they have the experience for that.”
The German giants slowed the game still further at the end with three substitutions, one in the 88th minute and two in stoppage time.
But Martinez stayed on, grafting hard throughout and showing why he was a man-of-the-match rival to Liverpool workhorse Jordan Henderson.
With the draw, Bayern will head to the Allianz Arena with a fighting chance against Liverpool, something that couldn’t be said for the Reds’ opponents last season in the same competition.
Jürgen Klopp claimed Liverpool will have to be more courageous in the second leg if they are to progress in the Champions League, complaining his side were too passive and guilty of wasting good approach work with sloppy final balls.
“We have three weeks until the second leg, and I think day by day this result will start to look better for us. First, though, we must return our concentration to the Premier League, because we play Manchester United next and they are obviously in good shape,” he said.