De Boer places Champions League hopes on homegrown Ajax talent

The Amsterdam side can count on the services of excellent products raised from their youth ranks, a circumstance the coach believes places his team in good stead for Europe
Ajax coach Frank de Boer has been quick to point out his club's presence is not to be underestimated in the group stages of this season's Champions League.

A gulf in quality had been pinpointed the moment the Eredivisie champions were drawn together in Group D alongside heavyweights Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City.

But the former Barcelona defender has been quick to allay fears that Ajax are merely there to make up the numbers, and is confident his outfit have the capability of punishing any instances of complacency displayed by his opponents.

"If things go according to plan, we are capable of beating anyone through our Ajax philosophy," the 42-year-old iterated to Netherlands publication De Telegraaf.

"Carelessness on this level is fatal, so we must remain calm and rely on ball possession, passing it to Christian Eriksen, Siem de Jong and Ryan Babel."

The Netherlands giants lost key players in a mass exodus this summer, with the likes of Jan Vertonghen, Vurnon Anita, Theo Janssen and Gregory van der Wiel opting to ply their trade elsewhere.

Nevertheless, de Boer believes the club's ability to continue churning out homegrown talent stands them in good stead for the present and the future, tipping them to prove their worth on the professional stage.

"If everyone thought in terms of opportunities instead of problems, that would yield surprising results," the former Ajax youth player noted to AD. "I love the challenge of fixing things."

"We begin training our players from 18 years of age, working hard to introduce players into the first-team every two to three years, as was the case with Rafael van der Vaart.

"The stakes are always high for those concerned, but it's just a matter of thinking in opportunities rather than challenges."