Bayern Munich coach Louis van Gaal hit out at his team for throwing away a victory against Roma as a 2-0 half-time lead turned into a 3-2 defeat in the UEFA Champions League.
Van Gaal complained that his team has been brittle this season and must stamp out such fragility. After a poor start to their league campaign Bayern are 14 points behind Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund.
And although this result was enough to ensure they topped Group E and should face an easier team in the second round, their second half collapse angered Van Gaal. "We played a great first half, we dominated but then it was incredible how we brought Roma back into the match in the second half," he said.
"(Roma coach Claudio) Ranieri changed their system from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3 but that wasn't the problem. The problem was we lost too many balls and gave away too many chances to Roma. We've thrown away a game again, like we did against (Borussia) Moenchengladbach and (Bayer) Leverkusen and we have to find a way to stop doing that."
Mario Gomez took his tally to 14 goals in his last ten matches with a first half brace but Roma stormed back after the restart. Marco Borriello got them back into the game four minutes in and then two goals in the last ten minutes from Daniele De Rossi and Francesco Totti, from the spot, earned Roma an unlikely win.
Ranieri was delighted with his players' character. "It was important to get points, we got three against the vice-champions of Europe, it wasn't easy, especially in the first half but the players were magnificent," he said.
But Van Gaal argued it was his team's failings and not Roma's improvement that was decisive. "Motivation wasn't the problem, the problem was a lack of concentration at the start of the second half, giving away too many balls and allowing Roma to take control of the game," he added. "We brought Roma back into the game, I don't think Roma played fantastically, even in the second half. They just hit us on the counter-attack."
He was happy to have won the group but couldn't hide his bitterness at the way his side played. "Of course it's good, we said it's important to win the group and that's much better than last year.
"But it's a great disappointment to lose a 2-0 lead and go down 3-2, something that has already happened in Germany. The important thing in the next match against Frankfurt is that we have to find greater security in ourselves to stop this happening again."
Ranieri said he felt it was his tactical change that had given his side a boost. Jeremy Menez began the game in the hole behind Mirko Vucinic and Borriello but in the second period Vucinic went wide left with Menez on the right. "From his (Van Gaal) point of view it can be true that his team threw it away because they were winning 2-0," said the Italian.
"But my team didn't want to lose. In the first half we gave a lot but in the wrong way. So I put Vucinic on the left and Menez on the right and we had a better coverage of the pitch. We had two or three early second half chances and that was important because it gave the players belief and got the crowd behind us. And then it turned into a great night."
De Rossi warned, though, that Roma can't expect to keep mounting stirring fight-backs. "We played a great second half but if we want to be a great side we have to play like that for 90 minutes and not just 45 minutes," he said.