FK Partizan coach Lothar Matthäus said his defeated side showed the Real Madrid CF "too much respect".
Disappointed FK Partizan coach Lothar Matthäus said his side showed their surroundings "too much respect" during their 1-0 defeat at the hands of Real Madrid CF in UEFA Champions League Group F.
A single goal from Raúl González, who followed in on Luís Figo's goalbound header, proved enough for the home side at the Santiago Bernabéu - but Matthäus felt Partizan could have come away with at least a share of the spoils. "I'm really upset," he said. "My players didn't play as well as they can.
"There were far too many players out there who showed too much respect for the Bernabéu. There were some sad, fearful performances from our team and we didn't go for the victory as we should have done.
I feel that we missed a great chance to claim a win here."
Yet the visitors struggled to create openings against the Spanish champions, who extended their winning run in this season's competition to three games with the narrow but ultimately comfortable victory. Indeed, had Partizan goalkeeper Djordje Pantic not been in such fine form, the margin of defeat could have been far greater.
"Madrid can be satisfied with the result," Matthäus added. "But I'm not really sure whether they deserved it. One thing I was pleased about, though, was Pantic's performance. He had a great game and has a great future ahead of him."
Pantic made one brilliant save from point-blank range after Ronaldo had unselfishly passed to David Beckham. The English international was at the hub of everything for the home side and his assist resulted in Figo seeing Pantic pull off yet another stunning reflex stop.
Despite only beating Pantic once, the three points were just reward for Madrid coach Carlos Queiroz's side who, despite never being at their most fluent, were always in the ascendancy and should have had more to show than just the solitary strike.
Shrugging squandered opportunities aside, Queiroz suggested the victory was more important than the quality of his team's performance. "Our objective was to win the game, make sure we achieved a comfortable position in the group and we did just that.
It wasn't a game with much rhythm or intensity but we did what we had to do and we also managed to create a lot of scoring opportunities.
I am going to remember the victory, the three points and the chances we made - that's enough for me."
While Madrid hold one of the last two remaining perfect records in the Champions League - along with Juventus FC - and lead the group by five points, Partizan have secured only a solitary draw, and may need more when the Spanish title-holders visit Belgrade on 4 November.
Still, Partizan defender Nenad Djordjevic believes his side can take something from the defeat. He told uefa.com: "Perhaps we had too much respect for Madrid during the first half but later in the second half we improved. We come away feeling that we did not disappoint ourselves considering we were playing against the best team in the world and we feel very proud with the way tonight has gone."