Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt is understandably heartbroken after his side were stunned in the Champions League semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night.
And, speaking to Veronica (8 May, 10:00pm), the club captain believes Ajax’s collapse started when they stopped putting pressure on Spurs’ ball-playing defenders Toby Alderweireld and Kieran Trippier.
The Eredivisie leaders looked certain to reach the Champions League final for the first time since 1996, going into half time in the second leg with a three goal aggregate lead.
But Lucas Moura turned the tie around after the interval, scoring three times including a 96th minute winner to send Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham to Madrid in Ajax’s place.
De Ligt has received plenty of criticism for his role in Lucas’ stoppage time strike but the 19-year-old believes Ajax were made to pay for their failure to stop Alderweireld and Trippier from building play at the back.
"In the second half we were no longer capable of putting on pressure, so Alderweireld could step forward and Trippier had too much time to bring the ball in,” the Dutch international admitted.
"We had no answer to that. We survived for a very long time, but we gave away the goals very clumsily. That's what made the difference.”
Alderweireld’s excellent passing range proved crucial in the second half while the much-maligned Trippier produced one of his finest attacking performances since last summer’s World Cup, even if he was arguably at fault for the two goals Tottenham conceded in the Dutch capital.
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