Sir Alex Ferguson urges Man United to respect Ajax’s ‘fantastic’ history
Sir Alex Ferguson promises Manchester United will not be taking Ajax lightly, despite their recent struggles in the Dutch league
Sir Alex Ferguson has warned his Manchester United players that they must respect Ajax’s history ahead of the first leg of their last-32 Europa League tie at the Amsterdam Arena.
Ajax have won the European Cup on four occasions, with their last success coming under Louis van Gaal in the Champions League final against AC Milan in 1995.
But Frank De Boer’s side have only one victory to their name in 2012, and the reigning Eredivisie champions are currently in sixth position, eight points off first-place PSV Eindhoven.
“I worry more about Ajax’s history than any individual in their team at this moment in time,” said Ferguson.
“I respect that history. It’s fantastic that Ajax have retained that philosophy for so many years. They play the same style, the stame system, the same tactics. It’s fantastic and I respect that.
“The standard of Dutch sides is always good. Unfortunately the problem is that all the best players want to leave and go on to bigger things, but Holland keeps producing players and it’s a great credit to them.”
The 70-year-old boss insists that United have learned from their shock defeat by Swiss side Basel which dumped the Red Devils out of the Champions League.
“We’ve taken that lesson from the defeat in Basel,” Ferguson added. “We threw away the game against Basel at home United were 2-0 up at half-time and were unlucky against Benfica in another home game. That caught us short and we suffered for it.
“But I feel good about being in the Europa League. It’s a tournament we’re going to try and win and we have a responsibility to do better than we’ve done earlier in the season. Going out of the Champions League wasn’t expected, but it happens.
“Being in this tournament should be great motivation for the players. We have so many young players who don’t have much experience of Europe. But now there’s a final in Romania: they want to be there, I want to be there and our fans want to be there.”