David Moyes' side had just 24% possession in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final at Old Trafford.
They emerged with a creditable 1-1 draw but their tactics were clearly to sit deep and rely on counter-attacks.
Robben, speaking to the German media, said: "It was not easy, as our opponents didn't leave any gaps. We wanted to play football but they tried to stop us. The English were just playing on the counter and have played very defensively, it was almost like in handball.
"But when you go a goal down you have to be pleased with a draw. 1-1 is a very good result that we can take home with us and then we just have to finish it off next week."
Team-mate Toni Kroos, rumoured to be a target for United, agreed, saying: "It was difficult: we were dominant all the time. It's very difficult to play against a team that consistently has all its players around their own penalty area."