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De Boer demands Ajax's best against Barcelona

Frank de Boer wants his AFC Ajax side to "get the best out of ourselves" as they chase three vital points against FC Barcelona, with both teams missing key forwards.

Frank de Boer oversees training on Monday
Frank de Boer oversees training on Monday ©AFP/Getty Images

Frank de Boer wants his AFC Ajax to "get the best out of ourselves" as they welcome FC Barcelona for a match crucial to their UEFA Champions League Group H ambitions.

De Boer is without Siem de Jong and Kolbeinn Sigthórsson while already-qualified Barcelona are deprived of Lionel Messi, though that, says visiting coach Gerard Martino, will not distract the visitors from their aim of playing "beautiful football".

• Barcelona are through and will confirm first place with a draw or if AC Milan do not beat Celtic FC. Ajax are a point behind Milan and one in front of Celtic; if they lose and Milan win, the top two is out of Ajax's reach.

Frank de Boer, coach
We want to be second in the group but even without Messi they have dropped very few points in both the league and the Champions League. He's a very important player who doesn't only score but also gives a lot of assists, but even without Messi they have a lot of great players.

We are trying to prepare as well as possible for the match; yes, they have more quality but that does not always decide who wins. I hope we can get the best out of ourselves, play well and get a good result. But for me it's always about the football and if you do that well than you can get a good result.

Davy Klaassen played as a striker for Netherlands' Under-21s, so I know he can play there. Apart from him you could also try Lasse [Schöne] as a striker, he also played there before.

We notice that they try to get behind the defence a bit quicker then they did before, when they tried to push the opponents back into their own box and then find a space. I think its a bit more Argentinian now.

We have the same philosophy as Barcelona, we play technically, we want to play in attack. We always think more offensively than defensively and this is similar. I'm used to playing like this as a player and as a coach I want to play the same and show that tomorrow.

Weekend result
Saturday: Ajax 3-0 Heracles Almelo (Hoesen 2, Fischer 56, Klaassen 73)
Cillessen; Van Rhijn, Veltman, Moisander, Boilesen (Denswil 84); Klaassen, Blind (Poulsen 72), Serero; Schöne (De Sa 72), Hoesen, Fischer.

• In the absence of De Jong and Sigthórsson, Klaassen and Danny Hoesen started up front and both scored in a victory that lifted Ajax to second in the Eredivisie. Viktor Fischer's goal was set up by fellow Dane Schöne. Daley Blind played as a defensive midfielder again, with Nicolai Boilesen at left-back.

Team news
De Jong (hamstring) and Sigthórsson (ankle) suffered injuries while on international duty last week and are expected to be out for a while. Lerin Duarte (ankle), Ruben Ligeon (ankle) and Bojan Krkić (hamstring) are all on the way back, but for now remain sidelined.

Gerardo Martino, coach
I always considered Ajax a great team who know what they need to do on the pitch. They are technically skilled and they know how to play. I know that we are going to face a difficult opponent. Ajax like to have the ball, they play quickly, so it won't be easy to get the ball off them. They aren't afraid to take risks, so we have to put pressure, get the ball and maintain ball possession.

When I walk through the corridors [at Barcelona] I see the photos of the people responsible for the style of Barcelona. Many Dutch players and Ajax too have certainly been very important for this style. [Today] we want to play beautiful football, we're committed to that. We don't want just to win; we will continue working to win every match with beautiful football.

In my eyes we're missing the best player in the world so that's always a bit difficult, but we have other players who can play and maintain the quality of our team. So if we don't win tomorrow it's not because [Lionel] Messi isn't playing.

Weekend result
Saturday: Barcelona 4-0 Granada CF (Iniesta pen 20, Fàbregas pen 40, Sánchez 71, Pedro 90)
Pinto; Montoya, Piqué, Bartra, Adriano; Iniesta, Busquets (Song 74), Fàbregas; Sánchez (Roberto 74), Neymar (Traoré 83), Pedro.

• Barcelona shrugged off a lengthening injury list to maintain their unbeaten start to the Liga campaign and their three-point lead at the top of the table. It was their fifth straight Liga win and featured a debut for Adama Traoré, a late replacement for Neymar.

Team news
Adriano suffered ligament damage to his left ankle against Granada so did not make the trip to Amsterdam. Xavi Hernández is back in the squad after sitting out Saturday's match, but Messi (thigh), Víctor Valdés and Daniel Alves (both calf) are absentees.


Match fact
• Ajax are looking to end a dismal run of nine straight defeats against Spanish opposition. In each of the past three seasons they lost home and away to Real Madrid CF in the group stage – suffering a trio of heavy home losses (1-4 in 2012/13, 0-3 in 2011/12 and 0-4 in 2010/11).