Frank de Boer hailed AFC Ajax's "lionhearts" after the ten men hung on to victory while FC Barcelona's Gerardo Martino said his side did not match the hosts' intensity.
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Frank de Boer, Ajax coach
Jöel [Veltman] should have trusted his goalkeeper and not made the foul [for the red card]. 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 the San Siro [against AC 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.
Gerardo Martino, Barcelona coach
Sometimes the possibility of losing rears its head. More than the defeat, we have to analyse the shape in which the team played in the first 45 minutes which was when Ajax made the difference and when they set up their victory. We were lacking intensity. They were quicker and better in the one-on-one situations. Being better in all aspects of play brought them this success. Playing in games of this magnitude means you must match the intensity of your rival. We were facing a team that got the better of us in the opening half. We allowed those 45 minutes to pass us by and [because of that] we didn't achieve our goal.
We didn't show our identity and we lost the match in the first half. On an individual level Barcelona were not as good as Ajax. We lacked precision and mobility. To analyse what went wrong we have to get into the heads of the players to find out. We have to prevent this repeating itself. Today we corrected it well and I expected a draw but at least we are through now. There was a big difference between the first and the second half, but with ten men Ajax knew how to manage the situation and see it out.