Former Real Madrid and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was critical of Ajax’s inability to change their style and philosophy in last night’s Champions League semi-final defeat to Tottenham.
The Dutch champions started the game incredibly brightly and raced into a 2-0 lead in the first half to take a three-goal lead in the tie, looking as though they would be comfortably heading towards the final.
In the second half though, Spurs introduced striker Fernando Llorente and changed their style of play to suit the substitutes qualities as the Spaniard caused problems for the Ajax defence and created space for Lucas Moura.
The Brazilian grabbed a second-half hat-trick as Ajax capitulated under the pressure Spurs put on and found themselves eliminated in the most dramatic of circumstances.
Speaking on beIN Sport’s coverage of last night’s game, Mourinho praised Ajax’s philosophy but was critical of their lack of flexibility, outlining that he felt they “played the second half like they were playing against Vitesse in the Dutch league.:
“The philosophy is what makes a team grow up. You need that base, you need that philosophy, you need a style of play adapted to the qualities of the players you have and Ajax deserve all the credit for that.
“[But] football is a sporting battle and in battles you need strategy and to win matches, especially special matches, you need sometimes to go against your philosophy to win a football match.
“The basic thing you do when you have an advantage is to keep your balance all the time, never [become] imbalanced.
“The balance starts with the defensive line in position and after that a certain number of players always behind the ball. But they stuck with their philosophy, they played the second half like they were playing against Vitesse in the Dutch league.
“Tottenham changed, they used very well the direct football, they were lucky, they had the Gods of football with them but they chased that luck.
"To win special matches, you need sometimes to go against your philosophy.
"They played this second half like they were playing against Vitesse in the Dutch league!"
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) May 8, 2019
Mourinho also got a sly dig in at Ajax outlining that, “They will watch the final on TV with their philosophy.”
Mourinho on Ajax's philosophy:
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) May 9, 2019