Ajax are tougher to play against this season, claims Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho

The Portuguese trainer admits the side from Amsterdam won't be an easy opponent for Los Blancos and spoke on the recent absence of Mesut Ozil from the starting line-up
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has conceded that his side's Champions League group game against Ajax will be a challenging encounter, due to the improvement of the Dutch giants.

The 49-year-old has spoken of his respect for the Amsterdam club and believes that his team face a far sterner test in comparison to the last time the two sides clashed.

"Ajax have different players than in previous years, but the philosophy is still the same," explained the Madrid boss, speaking at a press conference.

Carlo Garganese, James Goldman and Peter Staunton run the rule over the teams vying for the famous trophy
"They have improved as a team compared to the last couple of years and that's why I think we are going to have a more difficult match than last season.

"The team has trained for another year under Frank [De Boer]. The players which left have been replaced with very good players as well.

"Ajax played very well in Dortmund and with a bit more luck they could have won or drawn that game. That's why I think Ajax can compete with the teams in this tough group." he said.

The Madrid boss was also questioned as to the reasoning behind Mesut Ozil's recent absence from his starting line-up.

"Ozil could play more, but that's not because of his quality. Ozil doesn't always play because we have other players that are good.

"Modric for instance, but he has to work even harder. He [Modric] just began at Real so everything is new for him. He needs to get more experience as a Madrid player," he explained.