Cruyff: Reserve role drove Robben to success

A spell on the bench for the Netherlands winger has had a positive impact on his performances, says the Dutch icon.
Johan Cruyff says Arjen Robben’s role as a reserve for much of the campaign was the perfect recipe for his late-season success.

Cruyff believes the added rest and extra motivation were vital for the 29-year-old Robben, who appeared in just 16 of Bayern’s 34 Bundesliga games this term.

“Although the setting and the footballing ability of Dortmund appeals to me greatly, the experience and the excellent organisation of Bayern Munich prevailed in London, of course thanks to a wonderful performance for Arjen Robben,” Cruyff wrote in his column in De Telegraaf. “Four months ago I indicated that the reserve role he had at the time could well pay off in a positive way later.”

Robben has scored in five in his last seven games, including the Champions League-winning goal against Dortmund.

“First he received criticism Saturday evening for not finishing a couple of chances. Robben was involved in five of the eight chances which Bayern had. Then he did something right.

“It would also show later. Robben was a 100 percent involved, culminating in the decisive goal that he scored in final minute.

"A nice mix of intuition, technology and natural desire [from Robben] led to Bayern’s two goals. It does not matter whether the ball rolls in hard or soft, as long as the goal counts.”

Former Dutch boss Bert van Marwijk was elated for Robben, saying it was his redemption for spurning a glorious chance in the World Cup final defeat to Spain in 2010 and other costly misses.

“It’s meant to be," van Marwijk said. "You could see that losing those finals has played a major role for Arjen. It is a reminder for Arjen of that moment face to face with [Iker] Casillas.”

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