1 October 2014 02:12
APOEL coach Giorgos Donis said his side targeted Ajax’s weakness in their 1-1 UEFA Champions League draw on Tuesday.
Donis felt Ajax were susceptible to direct play and instructed his side to attack them in the air during the clash in Cyprus.
And although Ajax took the lead through Lucas Andersen, their advantage lasted just four minutes before Gustavo Manduca levelled from the spot.
Ajax coach Frank de Boer felt Manduca’s 32nd-minute penalty should not have been given, but Donis instead focused on how his side caught the four-time defending Eredivisie champions by surprise.
“I was sure that it would surprise him [De Boer] that we were playing long balls at times,” Donis said.
“I saw the Ajax games against FC Salzburg [in the UEFA Europa League last season] who played with long balls and the first game they [Salzburg] won 3-0 and the second 3-1.
“Even though it is not our usual style, we wanted to use long balls against them.”
Donis said “you cannot be happy” with a draw when “you get such big chances to score and you don’t” but was happy with his side’s endeavour.
And he turned up the heat on APOEL’s more-fancied Group F rivals, insisting all the pressure was on them – and that his side were just happy to be in the group stages.
“Barcelona, PSG and Ajax need to think about their qualifying prospects. Not us,” he added.
“Our target was to get to the group stage and now we want to perform well in every game.”