Wednesday April 14 2021
Ten Hag: 'Ajax learned from Italian sides'

Ajax coach Erik ten Hag admits they have struggled against Italian teams this season, but ‘learned a lot’ from the first leg Europa League quarter-final defeat to Roma.

The Giallorossi won the first leg 2-1 in Amsterdam and the decider is at the Olimpico tomorrow at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT).

“We have a few different options for the line-up tomorrow, so we’ll see. Everyone who is in the squad is available to play,” said Ten Hag in his press conference.

“We learned a lot from the first leg. The result might not be on our side, but we are optimistic, we fought hard and had a lot of scoring opportunities. We’ll do the same tomorrow.

“If Roma sit back and defend, then we’ll have to adapt to that attitude and work with the spaces they leave us. There is absolutely no difference between playing home or away, we’ll face the game with that spirit tomorrow.”

Ajax have lost only two home games in Europe this season and both were against Italian clubs, as they also fell in Amsterdam to Atalanta in the Champions League.

Ten Hag was therefore asked where he thought Ajax would finish in the Serie A table.

“We allowed Atalanta to complete the comeback when we drew 2-2 in Bergamo, Roma came back to beat us 2-1, so in that sense we need to improve.

“Italian teams are at a very high level, so I’d say we are more or less on an even footing with them. Elimination would absolutely not represent a failure for us, we are preparing a team for the future and are ready to challenge ourselves against the best in Europe.”