Babel calls on Ajax team-mates to 'play like men' against Manchester City

The former Liverpool attacker is desperate to take maximum points from Roberto Mancini's men to keep hope alive of qualification from the group stage of the Champions League

Ryan Babel has called on his Ajax team-mates to prove their worth against Manchester City in Wednesday's crucial Champions League encounter.

Both Ajax and City need maximum points from their next two games against each other if they are to avoid crashing out at the group stage for a second season in succession, after securing just one point between them with two games played, and Babel is under no illusions as to the task that his side face.

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He told reporters: "We have to play like men against City. The last match, against Heracles, we gave it away and that shouldn't happen anymore.

"City is an opponent who benefits when we lose the ball, so we have to play really direct.

"If we stand still, it will be easy for them to defend us and that's of course the last thing we want to do."

Babel, who faced City six times during his four-year stay in the Premier League, will come up against a far more star-studded line-up than he is used to seeing and believes that their squad ranks among the best in the world.

He added: "It was always tough for us [Liverpool], especially away games. They had a very strong team physically so that was always difficult.

“Since my time they have made big steps forward and bought some very good players. They made good progress the last few years."