Spurs hope that Heung-Min Son can inspire a comeback against an Ajax team with a daunting home record.
UEFA.com reporters’ views
Derek Brookman, Ajax: Ajax are in an extraordinary flow at the moment and picked up their first trophy of the season on Sunday by demolishing Willem II 4-0 in the Dutch Cup final. Three of their four goals came at the end of intricate, incisive multi-pass moves. That’s the way they like to unpick defences, and they’ve shown repeatedly in Europe that they can do it against any opposition. Just ask Spurs. I expect Ajax to get the result they need to face Liverpool in Madrid.
Daniel Thacker, Tottenham: “The second half has given us hope,” said Mauricio Pochettino following the first-leg reverse, and Spurs will indeed take heart from the measure of success they enjoyed by pressing higher. Even so, to score early – as must surely be the aim – Spurs require more guile, with the onus on Christian Eriksen and the returning Son, who has found the net in every knockout round so far. Expect Spurs to find the net at some stage, although whether it will be enough to progress will depend on how the defence copes against this vibrant Ajax side.
Ajax: Onana; Mazraoui, Blind, De Ligt, Tagliafico; Van de Beek, De Jong, Schöne; Ziyech, Tadić, Neres
Out: Bandé (calf)
Doubtful: Neres (unspecified)
Tottenham: Lloris; Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Sissoko, Wanyama; Alli, Eriksen, Moura; Son
Out: Kane (ankle), Winks (hip), Sánchez (thigh)
Lasse Schöne and Frenkie de Jong v Christian Eriksen and Moussa Sissoko: Schöne and De Jong shackled Eriksen in the first leg, and allowed Ajax to impose their devastating combinations going forward – Schöne played a key part in Donny van de Beek’s goal. The introduction of Sissoko, however, allowed Spurs to put the brakes on the Dutch club’s lightning midfield transitions and build some forward momentum of their own.
The Frenchman’s expected inclusion from the start will not only force Schöne and De Jong deeper, but should relieve Eriksen of defensive duties, allowing the Dane to weave his magic – and when he plays, Spurs invariably follow.
Last game: Willem II 0-4 Ajax (Sunday, Dutch Cup final)
Last game: Bournemouth 1-0 Tottenham (Saturday)
Erik ten Hag, Ajax coach
During the last hour [of the first leg] we did good things; the organisation of the team in defence was excellent. We need to do more in an attacking sense. We have to read the game and see what’s required and that’s the challenge.
The away goal was important last week. We will play in an arena with an incredible atmosphere and we hope that will help us. When you play against a Premier League team, the intensity is higher. We will have to push our boundaries again.
Mauricio Pochettino, Tottenham manager
The negative result in the first leg obviously makes it more difficult, but the tie is still open. We know we need to win and perform our best. It’s an exciting moment for us. We need to feel more freedom to play, because we have nothing to lose. Nobody thought that we would have the chance in the last week of the season to reach the final of the Champions League. Now we need to enjoy this moment and believe.