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Solari: “The tie against Ajax will be difficult”

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The coach speaks in an interview with UEFA.

Club Atletico de Madrid v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari talked to UEFA.com to preview the upcoming clash against Ajax in the Champions League’s Round of 16.

“The tie is going to be difficult, like all of these times in the Champions League, and Real Madrid must live up to its history to get through to the next round against a team that already proved to be competitive last year and which remains competitive this year as well. Ajax are always well known for their commitment to young talent and their offensive football,” said Solari.

Real Madrid managed to win their group even after a very disappointing loss against CSKA Moscow when Julen Lopetegui was still in charge. Solari analyzed the performance of his team in the Group Stage.

“It’s always difficult. There are often surprises in the Group Stage of the Champions League. To seals qualification as group leaders we had to win two games and did very well away from home against Viktoria Plzen and Roma,” he explained.

Solari also talked about his philosophy as a coach.

“First of all, football is something that generates dreams and illusions. Playing in the top clubs is a dream you have when you’re a child. And when you’re an elite player, the dream is to win the league, the Champions League or the Club World Cup. And it’s also a dream for the fans in every game. Sometimes those dreams don’t come true. And football forces you to start again, to stand up, to pick yourself up. But it always gives you the chance to dream again every game. There are key values of sport: humility, sacrifice and solidarity. Humility because you always have to keep your feet on the ground. Regardless of what you’ve achieved at a club, on a personal level or for your club, you always have to have respect for the opposition, for yourself and for your daily work in order to continue growing. Sacrifice is precisely that: the daily work that starts, in turn, from humility. And solidarity is important because football is also talent. But that talent must always be put at the service of the team. They’re three key values in any athlete,” explained the coach.