Arjen Robben has criticised Real Madrid’s performance despite Bayern Munich’s 1-0 Champions League semi-final defeat after admitting he was surprised with their cautious approach.
Real took the lead through a first-half Karim Benzema effort, which came completely against the run of play, and while Bayern had 72 per cent of the possession they could not convert their dominance into a result.
Robben, who joined the reigning Champions League holders from Real in 2009, said after the game that he “expected more” from the Spanish side even though Carlo Ancelotti’s team will take the advantage to the Allianz Arena for the second leg on Tuesday.
“I expected more from Real,” said Robben.
“I expected them to come storming out of the gates, but instead they waited and allowed us to run the game. That surprised me.”
The Netherlands international went on to praise Bayern’s performance claiming that their display was a vast improvement on recent outings at that they just needed to score to cap the night off.
“All we lacked was a goal,” Robben admitted. “We've got to keep positive, though, and we have a lot of confidence for Tuesday (the second leg).
“I've got to pay the team a compliment for the way we controlled the game here in the Bernabeu.
“We've not been great for the past two weeks, but tonight we were. We really upped our game.”
The rather strange praise of the Bundesliga side continued through their manager Pep Guardiola, who labelled their performance “great” even though they must overturn a 1-0 deficit in the return leg.
“I'm proud of my team,” said the Spaniard. “They showed a lot of strength against one of the best teams in the world. I think that we can still crank up a gear or two in the return leg.
“We wanted to have a lot of possession and have a quick transition from defence to attack. We controlled the game, but Madrid were waiting to counter-attack and they have the players to take advantage of this.”
The problem Bayern will have to deal with on Tuesday is that Real can sit back and focus their attentions on trying to keep a clean sheet, with the pace and skill of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema allowing them to attack on the counter.
The lethal trio are expected to reunite for the trip to Germany after Bale was left on the bench on Wednesday night, having struggled with flu in the build-up to the match. The £86m Welshman was introduced midway through the second half in place of Ronaldo, who was making his first appearance since the beginning of April after struggling with knee and hamstring injuries.