Luciano Spalletti was full of praise for his team off the back of a fourth win in a row to secure a place in the Champions League last 16 with two games to spare.

“We deserve to get through. I’m proud of the team and the fans, who really drove us forward.

“It’s been a gripping and thrilling evening. We saw the Champions League stars in the true sense of the word because at a certain point my head was spinning given the incredible atmosphere generated by our fans at the stadium.

“It was a real battle out there and we handled it well. In certain games, the formation doesn’t really come into play as the style of play is dictated by the opposition and you simply have to be able to make the most of the space that they leave you.

“We made a brilliant start in line with how we’d prepared for the game. Ajax also did well to keep the contest alive throughout. We turned in a top-level performance.

“The injury to [Frank] Anguissa saw our tempo drop because we were unable to make a substitution straight away. We then conceded a goal, but were able to regain our usual level of intensity on the pitch.

“I’m lucky to coach a squad like this one. I have professional players here with technical quality. We have to keep championing the style of play that we’ve always had and the same mentality. Credit to the whole team on what’s been a wonderful evening.”

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