Ajax midfielder Ryan Babel believes the “many big egos” at Manchester City led to their defeat against the Dutch side, with the two team’s set to face each other again in the Champions League on Tuesday.
The Premier League champions succumbed to a 3-1 reverse in matchday, leaving them bottom of left bottom of Group D and their chances of advancing to the knock-out stages unlikely with just one point to their name.
The former Liverpool attacker feels Roberto Mancini's men are suffering from a lack of team ethic, with the players unwilling to put in the effort for their team-mates – pointing to the English side’s visible frustrations with each other following the defeat at Amsterdam ArenA.
Babel told reporters: "Against City in the first game you could see the perfect example of a real team effort by Ajax against a team of individuals.
"We noticed how the frustration got the better of them during the game. And we saw how the players were directing those frustrations towards each other. That is the danger of a club with so many big-name players and so many big egos.
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"When the going gets tough, they are not prepared to do the hard work for each other.
"[Manager Frank] de Boer wants us to understand that we can beat the biggest teams with good football.
"We failed when we lost to Real Madrid, but that made it much sweeter when we did it against Man City."
De Boer, meanwhile, has denied his team's Champions League win against City was due to the Premier League champions performing badly.
Goals from Siem de Jong, Niklas Moisander and Christian Eriksen brought the Eredivisie side from behind to wrap up an ultimately comfortable win for the Dutch champions.
De Boer told Uefa.com: "I get tired of people saying we beat City because of our opponent playing badly. Our players dominated. City had no answer.
"We want to be in the Champions League after the winter break as well. All the teams in this group do, and of course they want to have the nine points out of the three coming matches.
"We will give it a go to try to get a result here. Some of these teams will lose points and we will know who at the end of the match.
"We are not going to throw it open but it is not our way to play defensively. We want to show the way we play at Ajax, whether it is at home or away."
The former Barcelona player has also highlighted last season’s Champions League campaign, when Ajax knocked out Manchester United, and believes his players have what it takes to go further in the competition.
He added: "We showed it last year against Manchester United. I think this group of players have already proved they can do it and I am not worried whether they really believe it.
"I want to see players who play bravely with their own qualities and maybe better. That makes you a better player if you can play your best under the highest pressure. A lot of players will have that."