By Floris Koekenbier
Ajax veteran Christian Poulsen is relieved that David Silva, whom he considers to be Manchester City's most important player, may miss their Champions League encounter but warns that the visitors boast "world-class" talent even without the Spaniard.
The two sides meet at the Amsterdam ArenA on Wednesday in a crunch Gorup D clash, with the Dutch team yet to earn a point while Roberto Mancini's men only have one to their name.
The Spanish midfielder is a major doubt with a hamstring injury but the 32-year-old is aware that City still possess danger through the likes of Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero.
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When reminded that Silva is a severe doubt for the game thanks to an injury picked up on international duty, the midfielder replied: "He is? Well, that's a small relief but, on the other hand, they have a lot of players who can replace him.
"With guys like Aguero and Toure they will always bring world-class players onto the pitch.
"Toure is a very strong midfielder. His physique is outstanding and that's going to put us in a difficult position. I think I've played against him when I was at Sevilla and he played for Barcelona but he has become even better since joining City.
"It's going to be a tough couple of weeks for us and it starts against City on Wednesday", Poulsen continued.
"Against Real Madrid we didn't play well. We had a lot of problems with the amount of pressure they put on our defence so we couldn't play our own game. Against Borussia Dortmund it was a lot better so we have to focus on that.
"If we manage to play our own way, we can hurt a team like Manchester City."
He may be his club's most experienced player but Poulsen, like Ajax as a whole, has never faced City before.
"No, I don't think so," he confirmed, "but I don't worry about which teams I’ve played against. I focus on my next opponent and afterwards I let it go.
"But I do know that their current team is world class, just like the other teams in our group. I hope we can do better against City then we did against the other teams, because we really need three points."