What's the story?
Former Manchester United and Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has claimed that he knows how the dream run of Dutch side Ajax can be brought to an end and says that if Tottenham Hotspur do the same, they should progress to the final, he told RT.
de Godenzonen have emerged as the surprise contenders for this season UEFA Champions League title, having humiliated last season's champions Real Madrid and eliminating Cristiano Ronaldo's Juventus on their way to the semi-finals, where they have set up a mouth-watering clash with Premier League side Tottenham Hotspurs, another underdogs.
In case you didn't know...
Ajax became the first Dutch side to reach the last four of the Champions League since 2005, when they edged past Juventus in their quarter-finals fixture this Wednesday.
They are the youngest remaining side in the Champions League at this moment and began their campaign as the second youngest team in the competition, with their starting 11 having an average age of 23.6 years.
The heart of the matter...
Mourinho, who has been without a job since his sacking from the Old Trafford dugout in December last year, now appears as a TV analyst across various media outlets.
Soon after Ajax drew Tottenham as the opponents standing in their way to the finals at the Wanda Metropolitan in Madrid, Mourinho recalled his encounter with a similar young Dutch side in 2017 Europa League final on his show 'On the Touchline with Jose Mourinho'.
He explained that the physicality of his team, especially the presence of former midfielder Marouane Fellaini on the pitch was key to the Red Devils' success and that any team going against Ajax will have to do the same to overcome their challenge. He said,
"We gave them the game that they didn’t want to have.”
“They complained [after the game] about the long build-up, they complained about [Marouane]Fellaini, about physicality, they complained because they couldn’t cope."
He believes that physical game is the secret recipe of avoiding a defeat against a side that everyone had underestimated at the beginning of the competition.
Ajax were handed a boost in the buildup of their semi-final showdown with the Spurs as the Dutch FA cancelled a full round of Eredivisie fixtures before their first leg fixture at the recently reopened White Hart Lane.
Spurs face a trip to Etihad stadium tomorrow, where they'll take on a Manchester City side, they had gloriously defeated aggregate two days ago.
Their league fixture against Bournemouth on Monday, 6 May - two days before the second leg of their semi-final - is also expected to be moved by the Premier League.Published 19 Apr 2019, 21:27 IST