Football is Cruel: Ajax Coach Proud of His Team Despite Dramatic Loss to Tottenham
Amsterdam: Ajax teach Erik ten Hag expressed delight in his team after seeing their rousing Champions League run come to an result in merciless style in their semi-very last in opposition to Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday.
“I’m very happy with this team and that they made it this far. We have had a wonderful run,” Ten Hag said after the Dutch club were beaten on away goals on a dramatic night time on the Johan Cruyff Arena.
Lucas Moura’s 96th-minute strike to finish his 2nd-1/2 hat-trick made it three-2 to Spurs on the night and 3-3 on mixture because the Premier League membership advanced to the very last in opposition to Liverpool.
Ajax had been 2-0 up on the night, and 3-zero beforehand within the tie, after first-1/2 goals by captain Matthijs de Ligt and Hakim Ziyech.
Having eliminated Real Madrid and Juventus in the previous two rounds, they had been on the brink of a primary Champions League very last appearance for the membership in 23 years and their players slumped to the turf in depression when Lucas got the winner.
“We tried to shut the game down and we failed to manage,” admitted Ten Hag, with Ziyech also hitting the submit overdue on for the house facet.
“I told the players it is very hard to discover the right phrases in a second like this and that football is merciless.
“We need to bear the merciless facet tonight however we need to cross on.
“The Champions League very last is so unique and the players all recognise that very well so that you want time to get over it, however we ought to get back on target on Sunday.”
Ajax have already won the Dutch Cup this season and can nonetheless entire a home double before their gifted squad is unavoidably broken up at the stop of the campaign.
They are neck and neck with PSV Eindhoven on the pinnacle of the Eredivisie heading into the final suits.
They play Utrecht at domestic on Sunday, meaning there’s little time to wallow on this defeat.
“We will address this and regain composure,” he added.
“We owe it to ourselves and the lovers. We have had a notable season, we’ve got one prize and this organization of gamers is so resilient. We may be there on the pitch on Sunday.”
Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool’s outstanding European fightback proves his aspect will now not give up the desire of winning the Premier League until Manchester City have the trophy in their arms on Sunday.
Klopp’s group staged arguably the greatest comeback in Champions League history on Tuesday when they thrashed Barcelona four-zero to overturn a 3-0 semi-very last first-leg deficit.
With an all-English Champions League final towards Tottenham set for June 1, Liverpool can pour all their energy into one final push to win their first English name considering the fact that 1990.
The Reds are one point in the back of leaders Manchester City heading into their very last game of the season towards Wolves at Anfield.
The city will hold the title in the event that they win at Brighton however a draw or loss for Pep Guardiola’s men might open the door for Liverpool to be topped champions in the event that they defeat Wolves.
Given Brighton’s lowly function, the odds are firmly on a City coronation, however, Liverpool boss Klopp says this week’s stunning Champions League drama showed something can manifest whilst the strain mounts.
Not handiest did Liverpool creator a fightback for a while, however, Tottenham scored 3 times of their semi-final in opposition to Ajax to go through on away dreams after trailing 3-zero on the mixture with just 35 minutes left.
“It’s been per week of large soccer moments. But from our point of view, it may be a massive football second on the weekend — the week isn’t always over yet,” Klopp said.
“I think at the begin of the week most of the people predicted me to be sitting here and saying ‘OK, after now not being in the Champions League very last, it is hard to be champions’. Well now we’re in the very last and it’s miles still difficult.
“We aren’t used to moments of glory but we win on occasion. Focus is not a problem. The most effective aspect we are able to do is win this game.”
In certainly every other season, Liverpool, who’ve ninety-four factors and feature lost handiest as soon as within the league, could have been championed by way of now.
Having secured successive Champions League final appearances, the edge of failure will not be pretty so sharp if Liverpool do now not get a supporting hand from Brighton this weekend.
But do no longer tell that to Klopp and his players.
Reflecting the togetherness and choice fuelling their great season, Klopp found out Mohamed Salah, Andy Robertson and Jordan Henderson will all play through the pain barrier in opposition to Wolves.
‘IT’S ONLY PAIN’
Salah neglected the Barcelona game with a concussion, while Henderson (knee) and Robertson (calf) both suffered accidents in that suit.
“The famous three phrases of this week inside the dressing room is ‘It’s the simplest pain’. Very important for all the young lads to study,” Klopp stated.
Liverpool lovers may be glued to their phones for updates from Brighton as the drama unfolds on Sunday, but Klopp just needs his team to awareness on Wolves.
“Maybe our supporters shouldn’t celebrate the end result earlier than it is three-0 for Brighton and 87 or 88 minutes performed, all of the rest is only statistics, nothing else,” Klopp stated.
The manager remains to await the primary trophy of his 4-yr Liverpool reign, but that pales into assessment together with his membership’s nearly 3-decade identify drought.
When Liverpool last received the league, it becomes their tenth name in 15 years — a duration of dominance that came to an unexpected stop when Kenny Dalglish resigned as manager in February 1991.
In the barren years due to the fact then, Liverpool has completed second 4 instances, maximum famously falling just brief whilst Steven Gerrard’s slip in a defeat against Chelsea allowed City to sneak past them in 2014.
While Liverpool has a special relationship with the European Cup, which they have gained five times, that is a club raised on mythical boss Bill Shankly’s call for that “the league is our bread and butter, it is the only I need”.
Winning their 19th title might spark delirious celebrations across Merseyside and, after what he has witnessed this week, Klopp senses one last miracle may be on the cards.
“Both groups have to win their games. That’s not sure (to occur) inside the second, so we must recognition on that,” he stated.