Arjen Robben has expressed his delight at the return of Jupp Heynckes and believes he can get FC Bayern Munchen back to winning ways.
The Bundesliga champions made a stuttering start to their title defence – winning just four of their opening six league games before suffering a disappointing 3-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League.
The loss in Europe led to the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti as head coach, with Bayern subsequently turning to the previously retired Heynckes, who is back in the hotseat for a fourth spell, until the end of the season.
Robben announced his retirement from international football in the wake of the Netherlands’ failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, in order to focus on his career at the Allianz Arena, and he’s convinced the club’s decision will have a positive effect on the squad.
112 – Arjen Robben scored or assisted a goal once every 112 minutes for the Netherlands (37 goals, 29 assists). Farewell. pic.twitter.com/macLLT3ROE
— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) October 10, 2017
The 33-year-old winger has urged his team-mates to step up their game as the Bavarian giants look to close the five-point gap to Borussia Dortmund at the top of the table – starting with the visit of Freiburg on Saturday.
“It was strange because I was gone in Holland and of course the Dutch media was full of speculation too but nobody ever mentioned the name Heynckes,” Robben said of the recent appointment.
“Therefore, it was a big surprise for me too but it was a positive surprise. I’m really happy [he] returned.
“I’m confident we can get going in the upcoming weeks, beginning on Saturday, and I expect to have a good time together.
“Now it’s up to the players. We have to bring it on to the pitch now. It begins on Saturday. We’re trailing [Borussia] Dortmund by five points and of course we can’t afford to let this gap increase any further.
“We have to establish a series now, we have to work on certain things and improve. We need to elevate our game and I am certain we will achieve that. As a team we have to show character now.”