No margin for error, says De Boer
Ajax manager Frank de Boer knows his side has no margin for error ahead of the Champions League clash with Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday night.
With Ajax's solitary point all either side have to show for their efforts after two games in Group D, both go into the meeting at Stadion Makismir needing three points to keep in touch with leaders Real Madrid and second-placed Lyon.
Ajax's form does not lend itself to optimism, though, with just one win from seven games hardly a sign of a side ready to take the points in Croatia.
But De Boer has faith that his men can pick up the win he knows they need.
"The two games against Zagreb can be decisive for us," the former Holland international told foksport.nl.
"Firstly, we need to secure third place, but ulimately we want more and we want a place in the next round of the Champions League.
"These games are really crucial and we must get six points."
Ajax warmed up for the game with a 2-2 draw against AZ Alkmaar on Saturday, with Theo Janssen equalising eight minutes from time.
But despite that, and their sixth-placed position in the Eredivisie, De Boer believes his men will be up to the task in Zagreb.
"Zagreb have a very good team at home, especially with their great fans," he added.
"They're hard to beat. It will not be easy in Zagreb, but we have a very talented team. If we peak, we have no fear."
Kenneth Vermeer left the field against AZ with a stomach problem and is a doubt, but Toby Alderweireld is excpected to start despite an ankle complaint.
Kolbeinn Sigthorsson is missing until January with an ankle problem of his own, but Mars Rits could play some part after returning to training. Nicolai Boilesen is likely to remain sidelined with a torn hamstring.
The sides have met twice before in the Champions League, back in 1998 when the game in Amsterdam was drawn and Zagreb won the return fixture 1-0.
The Blues' 10-game unbeaten start to the domestic season ended with defeat to Zadar at the weekend, but their form on their home turf is good, with Real Madrid the only side to win there all year.
Leandro Cufre and Ivan Tomecak are both expected to be fit, while Beqiraj (flu) should start.