The trainer then immediately pointed out the strengths of Wednesday evening's Portuguese opponent. "Benfica's strength is to raise itself to our level and therefore come out strong. We have to make the right choices on the ball. In addition, we have to be careful during the transitional phases."
Three years ago, Ajax faced the Portuguese side in the Champions League, in the group stage. In Lisbon, it finished 1-1. "That was a tough game," Daley Blind recalled. The defender joined his coach for the press conference.
"We didn't create much then. I think Andre Onana made a very important save in the final phase. Beyond that, if you look at the growth with the team - there have also been many player changes, but now we’re reaching the same level in the Champions League again… That is great."
According to Ten Hag, the status of Ajax has indeed changed after that season. "After that match, we did achieve something in the Champions League. That game also showed something else. We can often play beautiful football, with good results. But if things don't go the way we want, we can still get results."