Jose Mourinho has slammed Ajax centre-back pairing of Matthijs de Ligt and Daley Blind after the Dutch side failed to hold on to their lead against Tottenham Hotspur and got knocked out of the UEFA Champions League.
Mourinho was talking on BeIN Sports in the aftermath of the second leg semifinal between Tottenham and Ajax. After the Dutch side had taken a two-goal lead on the night, Spurs came back through a Lucas Moura hat-trick.
Mourinho blamed Ajax’s philosophy for the loss, arguing that they could have gone in with a more rational approach and held on to the lead. He added that the centre-back duo failed to keep the balance and Spurs utilised the opportunity.
“Sometimes you even need to go against your philosophy to win a football match. And I think if Ajax, in the second half, hide their weaknesses better, but everybody knows their weaknesses, they have to cope with that,” he said.
“We saw many examples in their attacking situations, we had other situations where Blind and De Ligt were outside.
“The basic thing you do when you have an advantage is keep your balance all the time – never unbalanced. The balance starts exactly with the defensive line in position then after that a certain number of players always behind the ball line.
“But they stuck with their philosophy, they played the game in the second half like they were playing Vitesse in the Dutch league.
“They played like it was a group phase game, or one more game in their own league. And I think in this moment they don’t believe what happened to them.
“Tottenham changed, they used very, very well direct football, they were lucky, they had the gods of football with them, but they chased that luck.”