EXCLUSIVE: Divided City are just a bunch of egos, says Ajax ace Babel
22:55 GMT, 5 November 2012
Manchester City have been labelled a team of expensive, self-centred flops who spent their recent Champions League loss at Ajax arguing with each other on the pitch at the Amsterdam Arena.
The accusation came on Monday night from Ajax winger Ryan Babel, part of the team who beat City 3-1 on matchday three to leave them bottom of their European group.
City face Ajax again on Tuesday night knowing they must win at the Etihad Stadium if they are not to crash out of the Champions League with two games to play.
Going Dutch: Ryan Babel and his Ajax team are ready to take on Manchester City once more
Babel said: 'Against City in the first game you could see the perfect example of a real team effort by Ajax against a team of individuals.
'We noticed how the frustration got the better of them during the game. And we saw how the players were directing those frustrations towards each other. That is the danger of a club with so many big-name players and so many big egos.
'When the going gets tough, they are not prepared to do the hard work for each other.'
City went to Amsterdam in October expecting to beat Frank de Boer’s team and get a foothold in Group D after a defeat at Real Madrid and a home draw with Borussia Dortmund.
But Ajax ended the night convincing winners.
Former Liverpool winger Babel believes Ajax’s organic approach to growing a team is superior to City’s attempts to throw money at a long-term project.
Coach De Boer, for example, is said to know the name of every player in the Ajax Academy from the age of 11 up to the first team.
Babel added: 'De Boer wants us to understand that we can beat the biggest teams with good football.
'We failed when we lost to Real Madrid, but that made it much sweeter when we did it against Man City.'
De Boer said on Monday night: 'I get tired of people saying we beat City because of our opponent playing badly. Our players dominated. City had no answer.'
He added: 'We want to be in the Champions League after the winter break as well.
Principles: Frank de Boer is said to know the name of every academy player at Ajax
'All the teams in this group do, and of course they want to have the nine points out of the three coming matches.
'We will give it a go to try to get a result here. Some of these teams will lose points and we will know who at the end of the match.
'We are not going to throw it open but it is not our way to play defensively. We want to show the way we play at Ajax, whether it is at home or away.'
De Boer took a similar approach when his side faced Manchester United at Old Trafford in the Europa League last season and was rewarded with a 2-1 win, although his side lost the tie overall.
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He said: 'We showed it last year against Manchester United. I think this group of players have already proved they can do it and I am not worried whether they really believe it.
'I want to see players who play bravely with their own qualities and maybe better.
'That makes you a better player if you can play your best under the highest pressure. A lot of players will have that.'