Real Madrid coach Fabio Capello blamed mental frailty for his side’s failure to take advantage of a comfortable half-time lead as they ended up edging a 3-2 win at home to Bayern Munich on Tuesday.
“Teams score a lot of goals against us at the Bernabeu and it was psychological fear that came into play in the second half,” Capello said after the first leg of the Champions League tie.
“It was like when a tennis player’s arm seizes up, we got tense. They pressed us very hard in the second half and made three substitutions with fresh players, but it was more to do with fear than anything else.
“We were clearly the better side in the first half, but they pushed us very hard in the second and we struggled.”
Real went into the break 3-1 up thanks to two goals from skipper Raul and another from fellow striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, but after the break Bayern were in the ascendancy.
The Bundesliga champions were rewarded for their endeavours when midfielder Mark van Bommel blasted home from the edge of the area two minutes from time to leave the tie delicately balanced.
Bayernb coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, who took charge last month, said their second half performance boded well for the return leg in Munich.
“It was a very intense game and we showed the same faults as earlier in the season,” said Hitzfeld.
“Real started better than us and found their rhythm more quickly. We played too deep in defence at the start and made two crucial mistakes from set pieces.
“I was very pleased with the way we played after the break though. We created more chances and it was only a question of time before we got a second goal.
“We stopped Real creating scoring chances and created plenty ourselves and it is a good foundation for the second leg. This result will be good for our morale.”