Football

Ajax coach rues ‘boring Europa League final’

Bosz disappointed with Man United's tactics, but vows to learn from the Red Devils

Ajax Amsterdam coach Peter Bosz said Manchester United's unambitious tactics made for "a boring game", following his side's 2-0 loss in yesterday morning's (Singapore time) Europa League final in Stockholm.

United won the trophy for the first time, courtesy of goals by Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, despite seeing only 33 per cent of possession at the Friends Arena and registering just four shots on target.

"I'm disappointed because you play finals to win them. We didn't," Bosz, the first coach to steer Ajax to a major European final since Louis van Gaal in 1996, said.

"I haven't seen the Ajax that I'm used to, which means good football, high pressing and being dominant.

"High pressing was difficult because Man United played only long balls and didn't take any risk in the build-up. It was a boring game. There were no chances from both sides."

A disappointed Bosz added that he would learn from United's physical display and come back stronger.

Jose Mourinho's more experienced side overpowered Ajax across the 90 minutes, conceding possession but denying their opponents the space they needed to play their passing game.

Ajax had no answer to the physical strength and power of United, especially in midfield, where world-record signing Pogba and Belgian international Marouane Fellaini, who won 15 aerial balls yesterday - a record for not only a Europa League final, but for the entire competition.

"If you come 1-0 behind against such a, in defence, well-organised team, it's going to be difficult, especially the second half," the 53-year-old Bosz said.

"There's a big difference in the physical way they (United) play, but it's not a matter of strength - it's how you use your body, which we have to learn.

"For all the players, this is the first final. For winning finals, you first have to play finals and learn from it.

"All the players who played today learnt a lot and this is one aspect of the game where United were better than we were.

"We will learn a lot from it and we will become stronger, and, if we can keep this squad together, we will be stronger next season, for sure."

With the game played in the shadow of Monday's bomb attack at a pop concert in Manchester, which left 22 dead and 64 injured, Bosz said his players were influenced by that event.

"We talked about it and, in the media, there was a lot going on so, obviously, both sides were affected," he said.

"But once you play the final, you will, for that moment, forget it. You have to play."

- WIRE SERVICES

EUROPA LEAGUEManchester United