In the press room of Bernabéu, Erik ten Hag was clear about his team’s intentions. In an attempt to redeem its 1-2 loss from the first game, Ajax will be true to its own style and hunt for the attack. “This Ajax strives to take the initiative in every single game, regardless of the opponent. It almost always works.”
Real has won the last 3 UEFA Champions Leagues. Now that Santiago Solari’s team has been eliminated from the Spanish cup, and it badly trailing Barcelona in competition, success in the Champions League seems to be the team’s only potential redemption this season.
Hungry and ambitious
“Real’s only realistic shot at a prize is the Champions League. So this will be a totally different approach. We’re still active on three fronts, but that doesn’t matter to us. We need to want to win just as much tomorrow. I know for sure that our players are going to go onto the field with an equally hungry and ambitious mentality. ”
As always when leading up to a European game, a player joined the coach at the press conference. This time it was Nico Tagliafico. The Argentinian is not only looking forward to the match, but also to the presence of thousands of Ajax supporters. “The fans are very important. They really motivate us. They make us feel like we’re not in it alone. We’re going to do our very best to qualify. For the fans, and for the club.”
Ten Hag called Real a sharp team, and explained why. “They’re in a position to wait it out and force us to make mistakes. But I’m also expecting that in other phases, they’ll grab us by the throat and put us under pressure.”
Madrid will have to miss the suspended Sergio Ramis, a player that Ajax’s coach believes Real will miss. “Modric and Kroos are the guys at the front who will build up the game and determine how it goes. But I think that Ramos is the boss at the back. For Real, it’s a huge gap if a player like that is missing. It definitely won’t make them stronger.”