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Solari apologises to Madrid fans following ‘painful’ loss



Santiago Solari said sorry to Real Madrid fans following their humiliating Champions League last-16 defeat against Ajax.

Madrid were put to the sword by Ajax at the Santiago Bernabeu, where the irresistible Dutch visitors claimed an incredible 4-1 victory in the second leg.

Tuesday’s rout saw reigning champions Madrid – who lost Vinicius Junior and Lucas Vazquez to injuries in the first half – eliminated 5-3 on aggregate, having won the opening fixture 2-1 in Amsterdam.

Hurting following a fourth successive defeat on home soil, under-fire Madrid head coach Solari told reporters: “It’s really painful, we’re sorry for our fans, who were amazing in the way they supported the team in what was a very tough time.

“We’re sad and are hurting. We put in the best possible effort but it wasn’t enough and we’ve bowed out. It’s a sad night.

“A lot of things went on out there. It was a game in which things frequently changed. There was a bit of everything: enforced substitutions, shots hitting the woodwork, the ball not wanting to go in, their clinicalness, the VAR system… An endless amount of things that you’ll have to assess.”

Madrid’s loss to Ajax ended their stranglehold on the Champions League, having won the past three trophies.

There has been talk of an end to an era in the Spanish capital but Solari said: “This group of players have won the last three editions of the Champions League and tonight we’ve gone out of the competition.

“This group of champions have won four of the last five Champions Leagues and it’s a sad time that highlights what the team has achieved in the past and how tough it is to win the European Cup.”

Solari’s position has come under threat following a difficult past week, which saw Madrid beaten twice by bitter rivals Barcelona at the Bernabeu.

Back-to-back defeats against Barca sent Madrid crashing out of the Copa del Rey semi-finals and languishing 12 points off the pace in LaLiga.

Asked about his job, Solari added: “I am here to work and give my best. The players are here to give their best in order to be better tomorrow than they were yesterday.

“We’ll be training tomorrow [Wednesday], we have our LaLiga commitments at the weekend. We all have an obligation, we have to be professional and show that we have this team in our hearts, we’ll come in to work tomorrow and give the best for the team.”

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