Arjen Robben has criticized Manchester United of playing extremely defensive football following the draw in the first leg of the Champions League Quarter-Final tie.
Tipped as the firm favourites to win the tie, Bayern Munich were expected to thrash a spiritless Manchester United at Old Trafford that is going through a disastrous season under David Moyes. However United managed to hold off Bayern as they sat deep and attacked on the counter, a tactic that found no fans with the Germans.
The Dutch international criticized Manchester United for not playing freely and for sitting back and defending, relying only on counter-attacks to score goals.
“It was not easy, as Man United played very defensively and didn’t leave any gaps. We wanted to play football but they tried to stop us, just playing on the counter-attack, it was almost like handball.”
However the winger was happy to have come with a draw and believes that the away goal will prove to be decisive in this fixture. Robben himself played brilliantly in the Old Trafford, darting in and out on the right flank keeping the defenders busy with his thrilling runs. He did come close to scoring but failed to do so despite repeated attempts.
“Away goals are very important and that’s why we are satisfied having come back from 1-0 down, so we’ll take the result back home and hopefully finish it off next week.
The winger was unhappy in the build-up to this fixture as everyone believed that Bayern Munich would cruise through to the semi-finals against a weak Manchester United.
“I didn’t really like the atmosphere before the game because everyone was saying you are going to win it, it’s going to be easy.
“No – you play at Old Trafford against Manchester United who are a top team and top players and the Champions League is something different, it’s not like the [domestic] league.”
United did upset the odds after putting forward a good disciplined display that saw them defend tightly at the back and break free on counter-attacks. However the English Champions failed to dominate the game as Bayern kept 70% possession and allowed United little room for football. David Moyes’ men stalled each and every Bayern Munich attack and almost always cleared the lines with much gusto leaving Welbeck and Rooney chasing the long clearances. The tactic worked as Welbeck came very close to scoring in the first half before Vidic put United forward from a well-taken corner. However Bayern Munich went on to equalize knowing clearly well that they have the upper-hand in the tie as they welcome Manchester United to Allianz Arena next Wednesday.
Arjen Robben believes that his side will have to be at the top of their game if they are to beat Manchester United in the second-leg. Never the one to take things easy, he is experienced enough to understand that Champions League is won not on the basis of consistency but on the magic that can be conjured up on a head to head clash. Hence a single goal from Manchester United at Allianz Arena might be enough for them to go on to the semi finals.
Arjen Robben believes that the second leg will be a very difficult fixture and the tie could go both ways following the 1-1 draw at the Old Trafford.
“We have to bring in another top performance to beat them and it’s going to be very difficult.”
While the odds are in favour of Bayern Munich, one cannot rule out United from pulling yet another miracle out of their hat.