De Jong pleased as Ajax tough it out
By Football News
Ajax captain Siem de Jong conceded that his team-mates did things the hard way in their 1-0 UEFA Champions League Group H win over Celtic.
The Dutch champions enjoyed long spells of possession without reward during their 2-1 defeat in Glasgow a fortnight ago and might have feared a repeat as Celtic stood firm at the interval on Wednesday.
But De Jong played his part in a wonderfully intricate passing move that saw Lasse Schone open the scoring six minutes after the break and, although Celtic grew as an attacking force thereafter, Ajax might have made the margin of victory greater still in the end.
"It was tough, yes," De Jong told De Telegraaf. "We could have made it easier (for) ourselves.
"We didn't get many chances, but we have nothing left to give. I'm glad we scored in the second half quickly."
Despite enduring the worst start to a group campaign in their UEFA Champions League history and suffering similarly questionable form domestically, Ajax are now back in contention for a place in the knockout stages, with the final group clash with Milan potentially vital.
De Jong added: "Hopefully we can extend this victory to the next games since things can change quickly in football."
Goalscorer Schone, meanwhile, thanked the vocal support at the Amsterdam ArenA for helping the home side through some nervous moments in the closing stages
"This was a good night," he said. "We were the better team, but the goal was not (certain). During the last 10 minutes, you know that they then throw everything forward and can be dangerous.
"Today we had the full support of the stadium and that does help."