Ajax coach Erik ten Hag has expressed happiness over his side’s 1-0 defeat Tottenham in a first leg semi-final Champions League match in London.
Though they had difficulty containing Tottenham’s change in formation, the Ajax boss applauded his team for fighting “like lions.”
Concise News reports that Donny van de Beek’s lone goal, 15 minutes into the match, gave the Dutch side advantage going into the second leg in Amsterdam.
“It’s a great achievement. We’ve fought like lions,” he told Ziggo Sport. “In the first part, we played very good football and the goal was deserved. We dominated but after a while we failed to play football.
“In that phase we had more chances as we could have scored more. Nevertheless it’s a good result.”
“We didn’t anticipate well after the substitution [of Jan Vertonghen]. We weren’t able to keep the ball and that made it unnecessarily hard. We had to follow the ball too much.
“Tottenham chose a more opportunistic style and it cost a lot of power to keep the pressure on them. We would have loved to have the kept ball a bit more, but then we had to change our system, which would have made it easier for them to avoid the pressure.
“I’m sure Tottenham has gained insights from this game, but so have we. We are halfway through, that’s how you should say it. We have a good starting position, but it should be better next week than it was today. I’m very satisfied with our progress and growth.”
The coach also highlighted midfielder Van de Beek’s performance, saying he did more than score the crucial goal.
The two sides meet again in the second leg in Amsterdam on May 8.