De Boer: Ajax were lionhearts

Frank de Boer praised his Ajax players for their attitude in successfully defeating Barcelona in the Champions League.

The Dutch side ran out 2-1 winners at the Amsterdam ArenA to keep alive their hopes of progressing to the Last 16, thanks to first half goals from Thulani Serero and Danny Hoesen.

A weak back-pass from Ricardo van Rhijn forced Joel Veltman into a professional foul, drawing an early second-half red card and conceding a penalty that Xavi Hernandez converted.

However, Ajax held out for the result, much to the delight of their Coach.

“Joel should have trusted his goalkeeper and not made the foul [for the red card],” first began De Boer on the key incident of the second half.

“After his sending-off it became difficult and dangerous but we showed our lionhearts in this match. My compliments to the team but also to the fans.

“I have not doubted our playing style for a moment. We want to go to the next round but we need to win in San Siro [against Milan] to do that. We will have to play another match like this one here.

“I think Barcelona proved they could win this match, but I think it was due to our game that they could not get more out of it. I think we did good things when we took the ball from them.

“In the Camp Nou we made bad choices when we got the ball. Today we didn't do that, we only made good choices.

“Yes, Bayern were an example, the way they played against Barcelona last season, but I think we put even more pressure on them than they did.

“I said that Ajax would be the first team to beat Barcelona with the football we always want to play, which is offensive football. You have to be focused from the first second.

“I must say that Ricardo [van Rhijn] picked himself up very well [after playing a part in the red card]. The passion he showed to disable Neymar, that was nice to see.

“I think we put so much pressure on them that they could not play in their usual way. They are used to playing their style, but they lost a lot of the ball in midfield and they had to depend on counterattacks.”

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