Champions League

Ten Hag: Ajax and Chelsea have similar philosophies

Ajax coach Erik ten Hag spoke ahead of the Ajax - Chelsea Champions League clash on Wednesday 23 October at 18:55 CEST.

Ajax and Chelsea have similar philosophies - Ten Hag

Ajax coach Erik ten Hag compared Chelsea's philosophy under Frank Lampard to that of his own side ahead of their Champions League clash.

Chelsea have won seven of their 13 matches since Lampard replaced Maurizio Sarri in July, including five victories in a row ahead of their trip to Amsterdam.

Lampard focusing on youth at Chelsea

Lampard has used Chelsea's transfer ban to his advantage by promoting the likes of Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount into the first team, but his side trail Group H leaders Ajax by three points after two matches following their home loss to Valencia last month.

Ajax caught the eye during their run to the semi-finals of the Champions League last season and have yet to taste defeat in any competition in 2019-20, though Ten Hag - linked with the Chelsea job prior to Lampard's appointment - suggested his side enter Wednesday's match as underdogs.

"First, last year was last year. We are building a new team and developing a new team," he said. "Now we have to step up and become better. Sometimes you fall down but you also have to step up again and be better, develop. That's only possible when you play out of your philosophy and have an attitude to be better every day.

"We kind of have the philosophy of Chelsea, when I see them and their football philosophy. They want to play football, want to play in the opponents' half and they want to press high and stay in the opponents' half, which is pretty similar to Ajax.

"We are self-aware, brave and we have faith in ourselves, but Ajax is not a favourite against big clubs from the Premier League.

"Winning is always our goal, but if it appears that a draw is the maximum result, we will do everything to get a draw."

No truth in Chelsea rumours

Asked if there was any truth to the rumours linking him with Stamford Bridge vacancy earlier this year, Ten Hag replied: "No, I only focus on Ajax. No, no truth."

Daley Blind has been a regular for Ajax since rejoining the Dutch champions from Manchester United in July 2018 and echoed Ten Hag's views on Chelsea's change of direction.

"They are doing well, their philosophy, like the manager said, they want to play from the back," said Blind, who has experience of playing against Chelsea from his time at Old Trafford.

"They play different attacking football with a lot of youngsters and that's something nice to see.

"l have several good memories of playing them - they're always big games. If you pick out a player, [Eden] Hazard in the last few years was always an attractive player to watch.

"He's not there now and they're a different team. They have a lot of youngsters and it's good to see."