Erik ten Hag spoke to the press ahead of Ajax’s must win clash with Atalanta Bergamo in the Champions League.

Only an Ajax win on Wednesday can see the Amsterdam club reach the next round, but they go into the game on the back of a shock 2-1 loss to FC Twente. The same happened last year when Ajax lost to Willem II before they failed to beat Valencia in a crucial Champions League clash.

Erik ten Hag is not worried about it being a bad omen, “It was an incident. Of course there have been harsh words. But we shouldn’t dwell on it too long. It is separate from each other. There was a lack of concentration, but it says nothing about a sequel.

“We have the dream of staying in the Champions League. I don’t like to think in scenarios. This team is different. The goal was to spend the winter in Europe. We have achieved that. But we as a team want more. The Europa League is a great event, but that does not alter the fact that the Champions League is the highest and that is what we aim for.”

Ten Hag sees the game on Wednesday like a final, “I see this as a final. It’s great to play a final that can give access to the best sixteen in Europe. There won’t be a single man overboard if we don’t make it, but we strive for the highest. We think we belong to the top sixteen clubs in Europe and that’s what we aim for. If we can be competitive at Liverpool, then we can beat everyone.”

Ten Hag wants to avoid what happened to Valencia last season and wants maturity from his players, “You have to keep a cool head. Last year against Valencia, the first half was good, but after the break it got bogged down in opportunism and hectic. We have to stick to our Ajax style. I don’t fear that scenario, but it can arise. It’s up to our maturity as a team to deal with that.”

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