Rummenigge plays down Roma defeat but pressure is on Van Gaal

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The Independent Football

Bayern Munich have played down Tuesday's 3-2 Champions League defeat at Roma in an effort to defuse tension at the club after a string of bad results. Bayern, who have still qualified top of their group for the last-16 knockout phase with a game to spare, squandered a 2-0 lead in the second half as the hosts clinched an unexpected win.

"A defeat is never a good thing, there is nothing positive there, but Bayern can live with this loss," the club's chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said. "I think it would be good for everyone to treat this defeat softly as we have already advanced as group leaders after five games," he said.

Rummenigge was eager to play down Bayern's first loss in the competition this season after four straight wins, with coach Louis van Gaal under mounting pressure following a poor start to the Bundesliga season.

The Dutchman, despite guiding his team through the group stage in Europe, has seen the German champions struggle in the league, where they are 14 points off leaders Borussia Dortmund in eighth.

Van Gaal has been sharply criticised by Bayern boss Uli Hoeness for trying to run the club as a "one-man-show" and their French midfielder Franck Ribery complained on Tuesday of having a lack of connection with the manager.

It was all so different just a few months ago when Van Gaal guided Bayern to the domestic double and the Champions League final in his first season in charge.

"This defeat influences our self-confidence ahead of the league game against Eintracht Frankfurt (on Saturday)," said Van Gaal whose target is 10 points from four games before the winter break.

"We have to be dominant against Frankfurt, show we have that confidence in our game," he said after calling their implosion after halftime against Roma "unbelievable".

"Of course, it would have been better for that (Saturday's match) if we had won the game in Rome," said Van Gaal, who extended his contract to 2102 in September.

Internazionale striker Samuel Eto'o has apologized for headbutting Chievo Verona's Bostjan Cesar in last weekend's Serie A game.

"I want to sincerely apologise to all who were offended," Eto'o said. "I want to apologise to everyone at the match and the officials, who were unable to see the foul."