Luciano Spalletti made it clear how much he's looking forward to Tuesday's match against Ajax as he spoke to the media at the pre-match news conference.

“It's going to be an exciting game against a prestigious club with a fantastic history," he began.

“To become a great team you have to play against great opponents. Tomorrow is an opportunity for us to test ourselves on the big stage. We must prove we're up to the task.

“Ajax play a similar style of football to us. They like to keep the ball but they also have the option of playing it forward quickly with big men up top.

“Playing here at Amsterdam Arena is amazing – there's an incredible atmosphere. If you want to be ambitious, you have to produce big performances. Last year we often came up short in this sort of game but now that we're here we have to enjoy the occasion and show we have a big-team mentality.

“We must push as hard as we can to fulfil our potential but without doing anything silly. You have to combine strength with intelligence.

“I've had a close look at this current Ajax side. They're certainly a different beast compared to previous Ajax teams but they still play a modern brand of football in line with the club's tradition.

“It's an important step for us that could take us a long way forward. If we do exceptionally well, we could reach the knockout stage but we know it's a long, hard path, especially as we're up against a club that has proved itself again and again over the years.”

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