Real Madrid boss Santiago Solari hailed the character of his players as they fought out a 2-1 win over Ajax in the Champions League.
The holders had to work hard during the Round of 16 first-leg clash in Amsterdam but eventually came through thanks to goals from Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio, either side of a Hakim Ziyech strike.
The two away goals at Johan Cruijff ArenA have put Real in control ahead of the return at the Bernabeu, and Solari was delighted with the attitude of his players. “We knew how to play the game, to work hard, to suffer when we had to, and then to hit back and score when the chances came,” Solari said at the game.
“That shows the strength of the players and the group. “They had been reserving energy for this game and they took it all out today.
They pushed us back and took the ball from us, played with aggression on the edge of the rules. But when we could get out past their pressure, we created chances, and scored two very important away goals in the tie. “I am very happy with how they all played, they all gave maximum effort, it would have been difficult to win without that.”