Atalanta wing-back Hans Hateboer said he ‘was hoping to meet Ajax last term’ and claimed the Eredivisie giants know it ‘will be difficult’ in Bergamo.
Robin Gosens and Hateboer were rested against Sampdoria, when Johan Mojica and Fabio Depaoli started the 3-1 defeat to Sampdoria in Serie A.
But they are expected to be back in the starting line-up against Ajax tomorrow, and Hateboer knows they must make a bigger difference than when they came on against the Blucerchiati.
“The winger is important in every match, but on Saturday Depaoli and Mojica didn’t do too bad,” he said at a press conference. “When I and Gosens came on, it didn’t go any better.
“It’s always difficult to play against a team that has nine players behind [the ball].”
Hateboer said he hoped to face Ajax from his homeland Holland already last term.
“I was hoping to meet them last season, it’s special for me because I have played many times against Ajax,” he said. “But when you are out of Holland and play in the Champions League, it’s completely different.
“It’s too bad for friends and fans who can’t watch the game, but unfortunately, this is the situation.”
The 26-year-old, who has scored two times in four games so far, said the Orobici are prepared and played down reports in Holland claiming Ajax should win comfortably.
“We are almost always different on the pitch, but we are looking at the teams we face, and we know ho we play against and how they play.
“They say Ajax must win easy in Bergamo, but it will be difficult because there are two strong teams on the pitch, they know it will be difficult for them to come and play here.”
Having reached the quarter-finals last season, the expectations are high in Bergamo and Hateboer said not much has changed since last term.
“We still have the same team from last year, plus some new players,” he added. “We have improved, but we haven’t changed our style too much.”