Frank de Boer's first game in temporary charge of AFC Ajax went perfectly as they won 2-0 at AC Milan. "I told them you have to dare to play football here and not show any fear," he said.
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Frank de Boer was proud to see his team play both the AFC Ajax way and without fear as they won 2-0 at AC Milan to secure a berth in the UEFA Europa League. Appointed on a temporary basis after Martin Jol stood down on Monday, the 40-year-old hopes the win will give the players belief to kick on this season, while Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri acknowledged his team, who were already qualified, were second best.
Frank de Boer, Ajax caretaker coach
I tried to put over my vision, and the vision of Ajax, to the players about what we like to see, and I think they followed that pretty well. I'm not really surprised as I know that a large part of the team comes from the Ajax youth academy and I know what they're capable of. I underlined that we needed to play like a real team today who wanted to fight for each other; when someone loses the ball, we needed to get organised straight away. Again, I think the players did this pretty well. I told them that you have to dare to play football here, and not show any fear, and that's what they did.
We played well tactically. We tried to play the ball deep to find Luis [Suárez] or Miralem [Sulejmani] and if that wasn't possible we just tried to calmly play the ball around, and that also went pretty well. We kept our shape and created chances by doing that – I think we had 13 or 14 shots on goal and that says a lot. I hope this victory will mean that the guys believe in their ability, as they all can play fantastic football.
Massimiliano Allegri, Milan coach
It's all about motivation, but I don't think this was the kind of game we wanted to play. Losing a Champions League match is always disappointing, and we needed to do more on the pitch. When the team plays so poorly, it's difficult for anyone to shine. Some of our players needed to rest and [Mathieu] Flamini's injury is a concern, he'll certainly miss Sunday's game. It's always more difficult without [substitute Zlatan] Ibrahimović, but he definitely needed a break from the start.