Ajax vs. Manchester City  3 - 1

Article

Eriksen hopes to bolster Ajax coffers

27 October 2012 07:29

Ajax midfielder Christian Eriksen believes he can now command a larger fee following his impressive performance against Manchester City.

Eriksen scored one and set up another as Ajax defeated City 3-1 at home in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The 20-year old Denmark international has been linked with a variety of clubs in recent years, and hopes to make the Eredivisie champions as much money as possible when he does eventually leave.

"It was my day," he told De Telegraaf.

"I hope it means that I'm worth more than I was, so that Ajax can earn as much as possible. It feels good too that I can help.

"How come I have not played as well in recent weeks? I have no idea, form is something elusive. It is not guaranteed that from now on I play as well as I did, but this gives us a lot of confidence."

Ajax sit in third place in Group D of the Champions League, two points ahead of fourth-placed City.

Article

Richards voices City formation worries

25 October 2012 01:25

Micah Richards has criticised Roberto Mancini's decision to switch to a three-man defence in Manchester City's 3-1 loss to Ajax.

City manager Mancini made the switch with scores level in the second half of the Champions League clash but promptly saw his side concede twice in 10 minutes, leaving them rooted to the bottom of Group D with just one point from three matches.

City have switched to a 3-5-2 system on several occasions this season, but Richards revealed the players are not comfortable playing in the formation, due to a lack of practice in training.

"It is something that we've not worked on a lot," he told Sky Sports.

"We're used to a straight four and it's twice we've gone to a back five and conceded, but the manager likes it and if we want to do well we're going to have to work on it a little bit more.

"The players just want to play. It's a hard system because we're not used to it but I think the players prefer a 4-4-2 but he's the manager and we do what he says."

Richards praised Ajax's performance but admitted City were expecting to win in the Dutch capital.

Defeat leaves City able to reach a maximum of 10 points, the same total they finished on last season when they eliminated from the competition at the group stage.

"I think we got beat by a very good Ajax side tonight," he said.

"First half, when we went 1-0 up, they were probably the better team.

"But in the second half we just crumbled. Very disappointed with the lads' performance tonight.

"After last season when we got 10 points but didn't get through and when we got drawn this group, we knew it was going to be a tough one.

"But we were disappointing today, I thought we were going to come here and get the three points but it's not to be. We'll come in tomorrow and we'll see where the group's at.

"It's hard because, no disrespect to Ajax but you want to come here and win. We didn't do that tonight, but we'll look to the next game and see what we can do."

Article

Mancini shoulders responsibility for Ajax loss

25 October 2012 00:29

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has taken the blame for his team's 3-1 loss to Ajax in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The English champions took the lead against the run of play in the first half at the Amsterdam Arena through Samir Nasri, but were brought back to level terms on the stroke of half-time by Siem de Jong's goal.

Mancini decided to switch to a 3-5-2 formation early in the second half following Niklas Moisander's headed goal, but City conceded again 11 minutes later through Christian Eriksen's deflected shot.

"I think that (Ajax) played better than us," Mancini told Sky Sports.

"They played better football. Probably it's my fault. I didn't prepare the players well for this game. I take the fault for this defeat.

"I (prepared) one way, it was different. For this reason (we lost). (We didn't underestimate Ajax), but when you prepare a game, you think it could be one way, but it's a different game.

"I think that we had more chances to score, and in Champions League you need to score, when you don't play well. After Dortmund, I said (I knew what was wrong), but also we had a lot of players injured, but it's my fault and I take all this."

However, Mancini refuted the suggestion his tactical approach was to blame for the defeat, stating that his only ploy is to "run and score".

"We changed for five minutes when we wanted to have one player in the hole," he said.

"We changed only for five minutes, but on the pitch we are always 11 players.

"Before we conceded two goals. I don't think this is important. Three, four, five, six, seven. If someone wants to make this excuse, OK, but this is not important. When you play you should be strong: the tactic is one - run and score."

Mancini went on to concede City now face an uphill battle to qualify for the competition's knockout stages.

"I think that it is difficult (to qualify), very difficult," he said.

"There are one team with seven (points), one with six, one with three. It should be a marathon like last year.

Ajax coach Frank De Boer was pleased his players showed what they are capable of after weathering a period of City pressure.

"I know what we are capable of," he said.

"I think we saw a good Ajax today that wanted to show something good. We played quite good sometimes.

"City didn't have an answer to our play. There was a difficult time for us, but we after that, we picked it up again and deserved the 2-1."

Ajax winger Tobias Sana said his team were not getting carried away despite their impressive win over City

"We take one game at a time. Next game we focus on that game, and we need to take three points there," he said.

"But we know our win against City is just one game. The next game will be much more difficult, so we need to play well in that game because it's away."

Article

Poulsen wary of City

24 October 2012 16:35

Ajax's Christian Poulsen feels Manchester City have plenty of talent at their disposal even if David Silva misses their Champions League clash.

The two sides meet at the Amsterdam ArenA on Wednesday in a crunch Group D fixture, with the Dutch team yet to earn a point while Roberto Mancini's men only have one to their name.

The Spanish midfielder is in major doubt with a hamstring injury but Poulsen is aware that City still possess danger through the likes of Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero.

"Manchester City are a team with a lot of world-class players but I think David Silva is their key player," Poulsen told Goal.com.

When reminded that Silva is in doubt for the game thanks to an injury picked up on international duty, the midfielder replied: "He is? Well, that's a small relief but, on the other hand, they have a lot of players who can replace him.

"With guys like Aguero and Toure they will always bring world-class players onto the pitch.

"Toure is a very strong midfielder. His physique is outstanding and that's going to put us in a difficult position. I think I've played against him when I was at Sevilla and he played for Barcelona but he has become even better since joining City.

"It's going to be a tough couple of weeks for us and it starts against City on Wednesday.

"Against Real Madrid we didn't play well. We had a lot of problems with the amount of pressure they put on our defence so we couldn't play our own game.

"Against Borussia Dortmund it was a lot better so we have to focus on that.

"If we manage to play our own way, we can hurt a team like Manchester City.

"But I do know that their current team is world class, just like the other teams in our group.

"I hope we can do better against City then we did against the other teams, because we really need three points."

Article

Kompany focus on present

24 October 2012 03:56

Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany said previous results in the Champions League were irrelevant.

City have suffered a slow start to their European campaign, having fallen to defeat at the hands of Real Madrid before scraping a home draw against Borussia Dortmund.

However, the club captain has called on his team-mates to move on from earlier disappointments and show belief they can win every game.

"The past is irrelevant; we'll go into tomorrow's game hoping we can win like we always do," he told reporters.

"It's wrong to bring up everything that might have gone wrong in the past, i think we have shown so many great things in the past couple of years.

"We have done a lot of great things this season. When it comes to character, when it comes to spirit and strength within the team to overturn situations, that's something we can only achieve collectively.

"We still think we have got a big chance and we are capable of winning every game. We will go into the game tomorrow with a positive attitude and with the feeling we have had a good start to the season.

"We are not looking at any game thinking 'we can't win this game.' We always have the feeling when we go into games that we can win them."

City face Ajax on Wednesday with Frank de Boer's men sitting bottom of Group D and yet to earn a point, but Kompany is certain his side will be tested at the Amsterdam ArenA.

"Ajax is a club of legends and has always had one of the best youth systems in the world," he continued.

"I have a massive amount of respect for Ajax. Obviously tomorrow is a game we need to win as much as they need to win.

"I think it's a very tough group. There's not gonna be any easy games, tomorrow is gonna be (difficult) one again. It’s very tight, but that makes it exciting.

"We're a very disciplined team and we have shown we have a great capacity to react, and tomorrow is a different game, a different set-up and it’s just important to win."

Article

De Boer critical of City spending spree

23 October 2012 17:45

Ajax manager Frank de Boer has hit out at Manchester City's transfer policy, preferring his own club's style and philosophy.

The two sides face off in their UEFA Champions League Group D encounter on Wednesday and the Dutch coach, while praising the talent at Roberto Mancini's disposal, insists that his approach is preferable.

"City is a club who spend a lot of money," De Boer told reporters. "We don't have that kind of money so we have to be creative.

"I like our style better because buying players is a lot easier. Their attack is worth more than our entire budget. I thought their attackers cost 142 million euro (115.5 million pounds) or something.

"It doesn't matter who plays at City because all the players have a lot of quality.

"There is a difference in their players because (Edin) Dzeko and (Mario) Balotelli are more target men, (Sergio) Aguero plays around the striker's position.

"(Carlos) Tevez works really hard for the team. He's always busy and running around, so that's hard to defend."

Both teams are in desperate need of maximum points from the Amsterdam ArenA clash, with Ajax losing both of their opening group games and City boasting just one point after a last-gasp equaliser against Borussia Dortmund on matchday two.

And De Boer is backing his side to claim a positive result against City, declaring: "I think we can manage to get a result if we have the good form.

"Against Real Madrid we didn't play well but against Dortmund it was good. We really need a good result or else it's as good as over for us in Europe."

Meanwhile, attacker Ryan Babel has called on his team-mates to prove their worth against the English Premier League champions.

"We have to play like men against City," he said. "The last match, against Heracles, we gave it away and that shouldn't happen anymore.

"City is an opponent who benefits when we lose the ball, so we have to play really direct.

"If we stand still, it will be easy for them to defend us and that's of course the last thing we want to do."

The former Liverpool player, who faced City six times during his four-year stint the Premier League, will come up against a far more star-studded line-up than he is used to seeing and believes their squad ranks among the best in the world.

"It was always tough for us (Liverpool), especially away games. They had a very strong team physically so that was always difficult," he said.

"Since my time they have made big steps forward and bought some very good players. They made good progress the last few years."

Article

Champions League Group D preview: City aim to strike back

23 October 2012 08:41

Manchester City's striking options could be the difference when they travel to the Netherlands to take on Ajax Amsterdam.

Edin Dzeko has scored the most goals for the reigning English Premier League champions with six in 11 games but having only started three games the Bosnia and Herzegovina striker has developed a reputation as a super-sub.

Carlos Tevez has notched four goals, while full-back Aleksander Kolarov and midfielder Yaya Toure have contributed three each, proving that City manager Roberto Mancini has plenty of goal-scoring options from all over the pitch.

Wednesday's UEFA Champions League match looms as a crucial game for Manchester City as they have only one draw from their opening two fixtures, while Ajax are bottom and yet to register a point.

With Group D clearly the most difficult in this season's Champions League, Mancini's team can ill afford anything less than victory if they are to overhaul Real Madrid or Borussia Dortmund by the end of the group stage.

Mancini has issues with his defence as Manchester City have only managed one clean sheet this season but they should have few concerns against Ajax, who have only scored one goal in Group D so far, while conceding five.

It could be another good game for Dzeko and while he remains unhappy with his bench role, he understands it perfectly.

"It's about concentration as when you get 10 to 15 minutes, you can't be sad or angry with the coach, I'm calm," Dzeko told the Daily Mirror after scoring both of City's goals in their 2-1 win over West Brom on Saturday.

In the other Group D clash, Dortmund will hope Real Madrid's poor form in Germany will continue.

Real have lost 16 and drawn one of their 23 games away to German opposition in European continental competitions.

But Dortmund head into Wednesday's clash on the back of a loss after Schalke knocked them off 2-1 in the Revierderby on Saturday, while Real claimed a 2-0 win against Celta de Vigo.

Eredivisie table

# Team MP D P
1 0 +0 0
2 0 +0 0
3 0 +0 0
4 0 +0 0
5 0 +0 0

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
8 0 +0 0
9 0 +0 0
10 0 +0 0
11 0 +0 0
12 0 +0 0