De Boer proud of Ajax bravery

The 43-year-old believes he can draw solace from the fact his team stayed faithful to their own identity despite the unenviable task of facing the Catalans on home soil
Ajax coach Frank de Boer revealed he was proud of his team for taking the game to Barcelona at Camp Nou on Wednesday, despite ultimately losing 4-0.

Lionel Messi netted a hat-trick for the Catalans, while Gerard Pique also got his name on the scoresheet, but despite being on the wrong end of a seemingly one-sided scoreline, De Boer is delighted with how his charges retained their attacking style in the face of adversity.

"I really enjoyed our game at some points. We could find the free man in midfield and they didn't have an answer to that," he told reporters.

"We didn't only defend tonight and that makes me proud. You know that Barcelona has troubles when the opponent puts on the pressure.

"We created just as much chances as Barcelona before half-time, but it's a shame that we conceded a goal so close after the break."