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Ajax draw first blood against Spurs

Ajax draw first blood against Spurs

Sympathy was in short supply from Ajax Amsterdam manager Erik ten Hag for injury-hit Tottenham Hotspur ahead of their Champions League semi-final first leg clash on Tuesday.

The tactics looked to have backfired as Ajax's midfielders quickly set about controlling the game, taking the lead through Donny van de Beek's calm finish. They had looked tired in losing to West Ham on Saturday and that perhaps explained why, when Pochettino made his final two changes with 10 minutes to go, it was simply to swap his fullbacks, the position in a Pochettino system that does the most running.

Conceding that Tottenham had hurt their hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League, Pochettino added: "It is a fight, it is a race, with two games to play. We need to believe we can go there and win the game". They were more proactive than us. It was our fault. "We were better in the second half".

"Second half we pushed them and tried to create chances".

"But Sissoko coming on made a huge difference, got his tactics right in the second half".

Tottenham are short of key attacking players in Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, while a lengthy injury list and packed fixture schedule is taking its toll.

A flowing Tottenham move unlocked the West Ham defence and Son's blocked effort dropped perfectly for Christian Eriksen, but the Dane smashed his close-range shot straight at Fabianski.

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We've been struggling to keep pace of late, suffering humiliations in the group stages over the last decade, and it's only going to continue. As quoted by the Evening Standard, Pellegrini said after the victory: "I said last week that the team was doing well, we deserved against Man United and Leicester better results".

"Proud, because we can develop two different things in football that no other club could do: the most unbelievable facilities and then put the club on the sports side in a very competitive place, reduce the gap to the top four, be contenders and play Champions League in three or four years".

"We were exhausted. We knew that it was going to be tough because it was a derby, but we have to move on".

His side are competing tonight in the semi-final of the competition and the goalkeeping legend is using his clout to try and ensure clubs like Celtic and Ajax are not left behind by the super rich clubs.

Referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz made a point of asking several times whether Vertonghen was fit to carry on and got a positive answer.

Llorente had a frustrating first half to the season, making only one start and eight substitute appearances for Tottenham before January 1.