Though Arjen Robben insists there is still "a long way to go" before his side reach the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, the winger believes that FC Bayern München deserved their last-gap win against FC Internazionale Milano by virtue of being "the slightly better side" in the round of 16 first leg.
There was unquestionably an element of the smash-and-grab about Bayern's 90th-minute win, given that the visitors had survived a sustained barrage on their goal in the final ten minutes before Robben ventured forward, decided to try his luck from distance and forced a fumble from Júlio César which Mario Gomez gratefully dispatched for a dramatic winner. That said, Robben believes that the numerous goalscoring chances created by his side before the final denouement warranted a better return.
The Dutch international, who has only made six appearances for the German champions this season after an injury suffered at the FIFA World Cup last July kept him out until 15 January, was influential in all of Bayern's best attacking moves. He provided a cross for Franck Ribéry that hit the bar midway through the first half, a jet-heeled 40-metre run that finished with a shot of his own bouncing back off the post – and finally the shot that led to the goal.
"We created some good chances and, with a little bit of luck, we could have scored a goal earlier," Robben told UEFA.com, "but sometimes you just have to wait for another moment and this time it came right at the end. We are very happy with the result. It looked as though it was going to be 0-0, but when you score at the end it's very important. It's my feeling that we deserved to win, because I think we were slightly the better side, but in the end it doesn't really matter if it's deserved or not. We have the win and the advantage and that's very good for us."
Bayern adopted an attacking approach from the very start, taking the game to Inter and occasionally finding themselves exposed to the counterattack, with goalkeeper Thomas Kraft standing tall. Robben explained that this swashbuckling style is coach Louis van Gaal's preferred modus operandi.
"It's our philosophy and the way we want to play football," he said. "We want to play football and we want to have possession of the ball all the time to break down our opponents. I think at times we played some really good football and that's why I think it was a deserved win."
Though the UEFA Champions League final defeat by Inter was only nine months ago, Robben was quick to refute the notion that this third victory out of three against the Nerazzurri in Milan represented a satisfying piece of score-settling. "No, if I had the choice I would have rather won the final, but we have to move on.
This is another match with two different teams, and different players, and it has nothing to do with the final, but we are very happy that we are in front at the moment.
"The return leg is going to be a difficult one; it's definitely not over yet. There's a long way to go and we'll have to be on top of our game again in Munich. We can't slip up; we'll have to stay concentrated over the 90 minutes and then we will have a good chance."
©UEFA.com 1998-2014. All rights reserved.