Ajax manager Erik Ten Hag has pointed towards the television money Tottenham receive as a reason why their Premier League game at the weekend was not postponed.
The Eredivisie called off the entire list of domestic fixtures to give the Dutch team maximum preparation time for Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final, while last-four opponents Spurs had to play West Ham in a London derby.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino said it was “not fair” but Ten Hag turned the tables, suggesting the monumental amount of cash they receive from the Premier League means they have to deal with a tougher schedule.
— AFC Ajax (@AFCAjax) April 29, 2019
“I can’t really say a lot about that,” he said of Pochettino’s claim.
“There are always different circumstances, we play in the Eredivisie, we get 10million (euros) (£8.6m) from TV and Tottenham, I don’t know how much they get. They get a lot more.
“Is that still unfair for them or for us? Everyone has different circumstances, you just have to deal with them. That’s the way it is.”
Ajax are in London aiming to continue a remarkable run in this year’s Champions League, one which began way back in July when they had to qualify.
The Dutch team have surprised many by getting this far, especially considering their opponents in the knockout stages were Real Madrid and Juventus.
They have won many fans with their attractive style of play, with a young side that contains the likes of Frenkie De Jong and Matthijs De Ligt, who are both expected to be sold in the summer.
Ten Hag is not content with a spot in the last four, though.
“We want to continue this curve,” he said. “It’s amazing that we are in the Champions League semi-finals – nobody could have predicted at the beginning of the season that a Dutch team would end up in the Champions League semi-finals.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 29, 2019
“I think this is really the motto of our team – we have achieved something, but we want to do more. We don’t want to rest on our laurels.
“They (the young players) have really matured, certainly in the last couple of years thanks to the number of matches they’ve played – in the Netherlands and at a European level.
“That will really strengthen them in their development. The team has really come together.”
Wins at the Bernabeu and Allianz Stadium in the previous two knockout rounds make them very dangerous on Tuesday, even if they were in the second leg.
The stats suggest it is beneficial to be at your own stadium in the first leg as 63 per cent of Champions League semi-final winners since 2002/03 were the home team, but midfielder Donny Van De Beek says that it is not important.
“Very often they say it’s better to play away first,” he said.
“In previous rounds that wasn’t the case and it worked in our favour. For me it doesn’t make much difference.”