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Paulo Fonseca warned his AS Roma players they cannot afford any defensive mistakes against one of Europe’s most potent attacks when they face Ajax Amsterdam in the Europa League quarter-finals.
The Italian side travel to the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam for the first leg on Thursday and Fonseca was wary of a side that reached the Champions League semi-finals two years ago.
« We’re facing a strong opponent. For me, Ajax have one of the best attacks in Europe, with a lot of players who are good in one-on-ones, » Portuguese Fonseca told a news conference on Wednesday.
« The key is to stop making defensive errors. We must not allow them to get close to our goal. After that, it’s also important to have the ball. »
Erik ten Hag masterminded the Dutch club’s Champions League run two years ago, when they knocked out Serie A champions Juventus on their way to the last four, and has led his side 11 points clear at the top of the Eredivisie this season.
However, Atalanta earned a 1-0 win in Amsterdam this season to knock Ajax out of Europe’s top competition at the group stage and extend their winless home run against Italian sides to 10 matches.
« Last time we were knocked out of the Champions League group stage by Atalanta, but we played very well in Bergamo, » Ten Hag said.
« In the Champions League we eliminated Juventus two years ago. I would sign up for the same result now. »
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