Monday, June 21, 2021

Ten Hag: Juve were scared of Ajax

SoccerNews in Eredivisie 17 Apr 2019


Erik ten Hag said you could see Juventus were scared of Ajax, who stunned the Italian giants en route to the Champions League semi-finals.

Ajax became the first Champions League team to come through three qualifying rounds and reach the semis after defeating Juve 2-1 in Tuesday’s second leg.

Having already eliminated three-time reigning champions Real Madrid in the last 16, Ajax backed up that awesome display thanks to goals from Donny van de Beek and captain Matthijs de Ligt after Cristiano Ronaldo had opened the scoring.

After four-time European champions Ajax advanced to the semi-finals for the first time since 1997, head coach Ten Hag told reporters: “I think it was an incredible night for Ajax, the players and all of Dutch football.

“We have again knocked out one of the Champions League favourites, as with our philosophy, we can go beyond our limitations and we’ve done it again.

“You could see that Juve were a little scared of us and so were Real Madrid. It is very difficult to play against our style of football, as we have very technically-gifted players and it’s tough to press us. Even in defence, only we know how to perform that variable pressing game.

“We played the first leg well, so we had confidence and also patience, which we needed to escape the Juve pressing in the first half.

“During the half-time break, we talked about the pressing on Emre Can, as the wingers had to push forward more, keeping Lasse Schone and Frenkie de Jong closer together.

“The spaces opened up and we could go to attack. Juventus had to defend at that moment, but we went 2-1 up and had many more scoring opportunities.

“Our tie with Real Madrid was similar, as again we should’ve scored more goals in Amsterdam. We need to convert more of our chances and kill games off earlier. Having said that, I am very happy and proud of the team and the whole staff.”

Ajax will face either Tottenham or Manchester City in the final four and Ten Hag added: “Pep Guardiola has a pretty similar philosophy to mine. If we play the way we did against Real Madrid and Juventus, then we ought to feel confident against either of these teams too.”


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