Ajax vs Chelsea: Mutual admiration between bosses as young sides prepare to face off in UEFA Champions League

Ajax vs Chelsea: Mutual admiration between bosses as young sides prepare to face off in UEFA Champions League With his team unable to sign players due to a transfer ban, Chelsea boss Frank Lampard is attempting to rejuvenate his side with youth, and says he hopes to follow the Dutch club by achieving success with his young stars.

The two clubs face off in Amsterdam with Chelsea looking to draw level with the Dutch side, which has made a perfect start to their Group H campaign with back-to-back wins as they look to replicate their remarkable run that took them all the way to the semi-finals.

“What Ajax did last year was incredible, to do what they did with such a young team,” said Lampard ahead of the match.

“We are in a place here that is steeped in history of bringing young players through. We have a long way to go to do that, but in the short term I am happy with what we have.

“You see my belief in them. People say I have no options in my squad so I have to play them. That‘s not true, I chose to play them.”

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The Blues boss has been suitably impressed with Ajax‘s fast start to the group stages this season, and even though some of the Dutch club‘s stars of last season have moved on, he says he knows his still-developing side will face a tough test at the Amsterdam Arena.

“I watched them play last year and I know their team has changed slightly,” he said.

“I‘m very aware of the new threats they have.

“They‘ve won two games convincingly. We hugely respect them as a team. We also have confidence in ourselves, we know it‘s a tough match.”

Despite his side‘s heroics in the competition last season, Ajax coach Erik Ten Hag played down any talk of his team being the favorites ahead of Wednesday night‘s match.

“Ajax is no favorite when we play against a Premier League club,” he said.

“But we are going for the win, that is always our intention. We want to play our own game to our own strengths.

“Last season was last season. We are now building and developing a new team and we need to improve with each passing game.”

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