Erik Ten Hag: Ajax happy to play underdog role


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Ajax boss Erik ten Hag says his side are happy to play the role of underdogs during their Champions League quarter-final tie with Juventus.

The Dutch giants are one of the surprise packages of this season’s competition, coming through a tough group that included Bayern Munich and Benfica before beating reigning champions Real Madrid 5-3 on aggregate in the last 16 – a result that included a 4-1 win at the Bernabeu.

Ten Hag’s side will now be hoping to cause a similar upset during the first leg of their quarter-final tie at the Johan Cruyff Arena on Wednesday, and the former Utrecht boss has been quick to talk up the qualities of his team, although he is content for them to head into the contest as underdogs.

“We are happy to be one of the Champions League surprises,” ten Hag told reporters.

“We have a good midfield, we manage the ball possession well but when we don’t have it we have to be good at recovering it as soon as possible.”

The 49-year-old is also confident that Ajax’s performances this season are not just a flash in the pan and, although he wants to keep the majority of the squad together, knows they will be losing midfielder Frenkie de Jong to Barcelona this summer.

“All of our players are able to play in big competitions,” ten Had added.

“They have the potential and we will try to keep them because we want to do well again next year in Europe.”

Ajax are priced at 3.20 to claim a victory from Wednesday’s first leg, while Juventus are available at 2.30 and the draw is on offer at 3.30.

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