Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong has revealed it was harder to get past Real Madrid than Juventus following their stunning Champions League quarter final second leg victory in Turin on Tuesday.
The Amsterdam-based team went into the clash with an aggregate score of 1-1, meaning any kind of victory would’ve been enough to reach the semi finals, unlike against Real, where they were trailing 2-1 going into the second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu.
And, speaking to RMC Sport after the 2-1 win at the Juventus Stadium, De Jong admitted he had found the previous round against the reigning champions harder, despite the seeming ease in which they romped to a 4-1 victory that night.
The Dutchman explained: “I do not know if this is the best match of our lives but it went well. In Madrid it was harder because we lost in the first leg.”
And, despite conceding that they were coming up against a quality side, De Jong revealed the plan was always the same, adding: “Juve are very strong, very disciplined, we showed in the second half the team we could be. The coach asked the same things as usual, play high and play possession.”
The youngster, who is already bound for Barcelona this summer, was then asked about winning the competition altogether, to which he coyly replied: “Win the Champions League? We are in the semi finals, we have a chance but we are not favourites. But of course, it’s always possible.”
His teammate, and opening goalscorer, Donny van de Beek, was far less coy in his assessment of the clash, exclaiming to Veronica TV via Goal: “Everyone is going crazy, Ajax are in the semi final!
“If we’d said that at the start of the season, people would’ve laughed at us. This is a fantastic result for the whole of the Netherlands. None of us will ever forget this night. To be honest, we were the better team in the first half too. Obviously, in the second half we were the far better team.
“I thought we should’ve won 4-1. When we were 2-1 up, I was already thinking ahead to the semi final, trying to make sure I didn’t get booked.”