Ajax boss Erik ten Hag was proud of his players despite the 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid on Tuesday.

Ajax were on top for most of the Champions League clash but missed several chances before VAR dubiously ruled out a Nicolas Tagliafico header. In the second half, Karim Benzema fired Real Madrid ahead before Hakim Ziyech equalised. Just before the end, Marco Asensio broke the hosts hearts.

After the game, Ten Hag told his press conference, “I’ve just seen an excellent Ajax against an opponent of world class and one of the best of Europe, Real Madrid. I think in most parts of the game we dominated the game and created some big chances.

“This was because of our good defence and the high pressure on the ball. That helped us create chances, but also in the build-up, we played well and got some chances and I saw a very good Ajax.

“Only point of criticism is our lack in efficacy. We should have done better, then we would have scored one or more times and the other negative thing is that we have to stay focused until the end. If you make small errors, a team like Real Madrid are merciless and will punish you for that. That was the case this night.

“And then the moment with the VAR, which can be very crucial in this phase of the competition, with the goal being ruled out. It’s such a shame this goal wasn’t approved. But all the compliments for my team. They followed the plan and play with a good spirit. This gives us confidence for the future. This is the way we have to continue.”

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