Antonio Conte admitted games are not the same without the presence of fans as Inter prepare to host Ludogorets at an empty San Siro on Thursday.

UEFA announced Inter and Ludogorets will meet behind closed doors in the second leg of their Europa League tie due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak in Italy.

And Inter travel to title rivals Juve just three days later, with six points separating the sides as third visits first in Serie A.

It has not yet been confirmed whether fans will be allowed to attend the Derby d'Italia, but Nerazzurri coach Conte is keen to see supporters allowed inside the Allianz Stadium.

"I think playing behind closed doors is not beautiful," Conte told Sky Sport Italia. "Football needs the public and to feel the whole atmosphere around it. It is the most beautiful thing.

"Having said that, we refer to the decisions made for health reasons, but I hope that everything will return to normal as soon as possible."

The outbreak of the virus, which originated in China, saw Inter's clash with Sampdoria one of four Serie A fixtures to be postponed last Sunday.

But after returning to action against Ludogorets, Conte's side have a crucial stretch with matches against Juve and then Napoli, who hold a 1-0 first-leg lead in the Coppa Italia semi-finals.

"We have a very concentrated schedule," Conte said. "The fact that the match with Samp has been postponed changed the situation a bit.

"But we trained to prepare for this cycle of matches: only at the end will we see what Inter can do."

Ajax will be without Hakim Ziyech for the second leg of their Europa League last-32 tie with Getafe, Erik ten Hag has confirmed.

Ziyech will join Chelsea at the end of the season, with the player having agreed a five-year contract to move to Stamford Bridge.

The Morocco international was a star of Ajax's charge to the Champions League semi-finals last season and has scored nine goals across all competitions in 2019-20.

However, a calf problem ruled him out for the opening leg against Getafe, which Ajax lost 2-0 in Spain.

Ziyech missed a 1-0 defeat to Heracles on Sunday with a recurrence of the issue and Ten Hag has now revealed the 26-year-old will be absent again on Thursday.

"Still for the same reason, he hasn't recovered enough," Ten Hag said in a news conference when asked about Ziyech.

"Given the injury, we cannot take a big risk with that. We cannot risk putting everything at stake for one match."

Sunday's defeat left Ajax just three points clear of AZ at the top of the Eredivisie, though Ten Hag has been boosted by the return of Quincy Promes. Noussair Mazraoui and David Neres, however, are both still out.

Bruno Fernandes has added a new dimension to Manchester United's play, according to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who believes the Portugal international provides an "X-factor".

Fernandes – a long-term target for United – arrived late in the January transfer window from Sporting CP in a deal worth £46.5million (€55m) up front and up to £21.1m (€25m) in add-ons.

Since signing, Fernandes has made three Premier League starts, netting his maiden United goal in a 3-0 victory over Watford at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The 25-year-old's impact has delighted Solskjaer, who has previously compared the playmaker to former United players Paul Scholes and Juan Sebastian Veron.

"We feel we've added some X-factor quality with Bruno," Solskjaer told a news conference ahead of United's Europa League clash with Club Brugge on Thursday.

"Scott [McTominay] has developed, Nemanja [Matic] and Fred have done well. The addition of Bruno gives us a bit of a different flavour.

"He likes to play forward passes and take risks, which a Man United player should do.

"His imagination and his overview of the picture is a couple of seconds ahead of many players. It is one of his strengths that he knows what he wants to do. He can change his mind in a split-second. That composure has been important.

"I think Bruno will only improve by coming here to a stronger league, stronger opponents and stronger team-mates, getting used to us.

"We want to develop that X-factor. He's come in and impressed everyone but we don't want to put a limit on what he can do."

While United are still without Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial is hitting form after missing a chunk of the season through injury, and results have started to pick up for the Red Devils, who are unbeaten in six matches across all competitions and sit fifth in the Premier League.

However, Solskjaer insists the hard work has only just begun as his side push to qualify for next season's Champions League.

"You need many many attributes to play the perfect game or be the perfect team," Solskjaer added.

"We want the swagger, the confidence, to believe in ourselves, but you still want your players to be humble.

"I want my team to be one of the hardest working teams in the league. But that's not an attitude thing. That's what you're supposed to do. 

"You can blossom more with confidence, and speaking to the manager, getting them free. You want them to be free. Play with courage, bravery and you want bit of fear in you. It is a fine balance between arrogance, confidence and being humble.

"The squad has coped really well with that amount of games. I've said that the character and personality of them is improving, and December and January were really hard months.

"Now we're getting players back and we're looking sharp."

Alexandre Lacazette believes Arsenal prospect Bukayo Saka has a claim to being the Premier League's best young player after breaking into the Gunners' first-team.

Saka, 18, has been a revelation for Arsenal this term, playing 26 times across all competitions having enjoyed an eye-catching pre-season.

Predominantly a winger, Saka has been used at full-back recently and taken to the new role with impressive ease, remaining a useful outlet despite operating from slightly further back.

The England youth international has less than 18 months left on his Arsenal contract and Mikel Arteta has previously spoken of his desire to tie his most promising youngsters down to long-term deals.

And Lacazette spoke glowingly of the teenager – who became the youngest player to assist in consecutive Premier League appearances since Francis Jeffers in 1999 when he teed up Eddie Nketiah's equaliser in the 3-2 win over Everton on Sunday – ahead of Thursday's Europa League last-32 second leg against Olympiacos, with the Gunners 1-0 up from their first meeting in Piraeus.

"He's really good," Lacazette told reporters in a news conference. "I think he is maybe the best young player in the league.

"He needs to improve in a few things, but we can see the quality he has, and he's humble - this is the best thing, I think, for him.

"He is really humble, he wants to work and accepts criticism because he wants to improve."

When asked what makes Saka the league's best young player, Lacazette replied: "Why is Saka the best? It's simple, his quality. He has a good left foot and, because he's humble, it's there for him to improve."

Luke Shaw says you must be prepared to take criticism at Manchester United after he was asked about his mixed form this season.

Ahead of United's Europa League last-32 second-leg clash with Club Brugge at Old Trafford on Thursday, Shaw accepted he still has much to work on.

But at the age of 24, the defender feels like he still has plenty of room to grow and revealed how he blocks out most of the critiques about his performances.

"I'm still quite young and I've got a lot to improve on," Shaw told reporters. "I want to improve as a player day in, day out, and keep working hard.

"I don't need to pay too much attention to what people say in the media, it's sometimes good and sometimes bad. So, I've got to focus on myself and the people that matter.

"I've had a lot of stick and if you come to Manchester United you need to take that.

"People are always ready to criticise you. It is completely different to other clubs and everyone knows when you sign that piece of paper how different it is going to be.

"You have to be able to deal with it. If you are not strong mentally and confident you will struggle to deal with it.

"There are only high standards here, so we need to be strong. I'm feeling really good and can't wait to get back out on the pitch."

Appearing alongside manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who joked Shaw had now become "dad" to emerging young full-back Brandon Williams, the England international is enjoying competition on the left side of defence.

Shaw said: "I have to be [a senior player now]! Me and Brandon play in the same position but a few times we've played together and I've enjoyed it.

"Although we are both in the same position and we want to be playing, I want to help him and push him to be a great player that he can be.

"We'll keep pushing each other in training, he's pushed me more than I have been in the past. It's good for the boss to have that competition for places."

Shaw was injured when United beat Ajax to secure Europa League glory in 2017 but the occasion gave him a taste of continental success, with his side one of the favourites to win this year's competition.

"It is a massive ambition for me," he said, with the Brugge tie sitting level at 1-1.

"I was there for the Europa League final, and the feeling, even though I wasn't on the pitch, was a feeling I have not felt and I wanted more of. I wasn't involved and that is what is pushing me on even more to get into this final."

Mikel Arteta is not getting carried away by Arsenal's upturn in form, despite a three-match winning run in all competitions that could soon see his previously struggling side competing for a Champions League place.

Arsenal had been enduring a dismal season and, even with improvement under Arteta, the new head coach had tasted victory only once in the Premier League heading into the clash with Newcastle United on February 16.

But the Gunners thrashed Newcastle 4-0, before winning 1-0 away at Olympiacos in the Europa League and edging Everton in a 3-2 league thriller.

Arteta's men are now just four points behind Manchester United in fifth, which could yet prove enough to qualify for the Champions League if Manchester City's European ban is upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport following their appeal on Wednesday.

The Arsenal head coach quickly dismissed the suggestion his focus could turn away from the Europa League solely towards domestic action, though.

"The team selection is based on training, the load of the players and what we want to do against the opponent," Arteta told a news conference of the possibility of resting players in the second leg against Olympiacos on Thursday.

"We have three different routes to get into Europe [including the FA Cup]. We have to try to maximise the three of them, and we go game by game.

"It's the only thing we can try to do at the moment. The objective is still so far behind [away].

"We need to win a lot of games. We need to put a really consistent run together. We have just won two games [in the league], which is not enough."

However, Arteta, who was awaiting further news of Sead Kolasinac's shoulder injury, has seen plenty of positives on and off the field since his December appointment.

"A lot of things have happened in two months in many different areas of the club," he said on Wednesday. "I think the team is progressing well. I think the club is looking in a better place.

"I think we are getting much more unity in the sections of the club and, as well, a great energy back from the fans each time we're playing at the Emirates and away from the Emirates.

"So, there are a lot of positive things but still a lot of things to do, things to improve, individually, collectively and as a club. We are in that process at the moment."

UEFA has confirmed all their other matches this week are unimpacted by the coronavirus outbreak after the decision for Inter's Europa League match against Ludogorets to be played behind closed doors.

Inter and Ludogorets will clash in the second leg of their last-32 tie at San Siro on Thursday without any supporters present due to concerns over the spread of the virus in Italy, where there have been more than 300 cases and 11 deaths.

The confirmation of the match taking place behind closed doors was taken on Tuesday and followed the clash between Antonio Conte's side and Sampdoria being one of four Serie A fixtures postponed on Sunday.

But there will be no restrictions for attending supporters or alterations to fixtures for any of the other Europa League matches on Thursday or the two Champions League contests taking place on Wednesday.

"All other UEFA matches scheduled this week will go ahead as planned and at this time there are no restrictions for attending supporters," read UEFA's statement.

"UEFA will continue to closely monitor the situation regarding Covid-19 and to liaise with relevant authorities in this respect."

Robin van Persie has encouraged Paul Pogba and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to clarify their plans for Manchester United with a joint interview.

Questions over Pogba's future have been a troublesome undercurrent to an inconsistent season for United and Solskjaer.

The midfielder has been persistently linked with a return to Juventus or a move to Real Madrid, while agent Mino Raiola has encouraged the speculation with comments in the press suggesting a move would be in the player's best interests.

Matters reached a head when Raiola launched a social media tirade against Solskjaer after being criticised by the United manager, although he later moved to reduce tensions by offering to "reach out" to the Norwegian and suggesting Pogba could sign a new contract.

Pogba's injury problems have not helped the uncertainty over his plans – the France star has played only eight times in all competitions this season due to ankle problems, and Solskjaer stated last week that he was "nowhere near" a return.

Former United star Van Persie thinks Pogba's prolonged absence has only exacerbated the rumours about whether he will stay at the club, and he wants the player to go public to make his clear whether he is happy at Old Trafford.

The ex-Netherlands forward also thinks Pogba should state what he considers to be his best position, as Van Persie believes there has been unjust criticism of the 26-year-old, who has played in different midfield roles since returning to United in 2016.

"It's very difficult. With Pogba, it's an interesting situation," Van Persie, speaking courtesy of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, told Stats Perform.

"Pogba, in my opinion, is a world-class player, he has proven it over the years. He has it all.

"But first, I think with him, and that's after a couple of years now, I think he should come out and he should say what his favourite position is. If that's done, then people can judge him based on this position. Now, I don't think people really know if he's a six, if he's a number 10... that's a big difference.

"I have the feeling people judge him a bit unfairly. They expect 20 goals, they expect 20 assists, they expect Pogba to make Manchester United champions. But, is he a six? If he's a six, then you cannot expect 20 goals. If he's a 10, maybe 12 to 15 goals. So, it's not really fair on him because it's not really clear.

"Then, you have the second subject: is he happy there? There's constantly rumours, you have the agent constantly giving interviews, you have the coach answering questions almost every day, every week. There's a lot going on beside the main event, and the most important thing is football.

"I know how it works, especially if you're injured. People can't judge you on your game, so they start to talk about other things.

"I think for Pogba, and Manchester, it would be best to… I don't know, do an interview together or something, together with the coach, and just say, 'Listen: this is what I want, this is where I would like to play – judge me on that. I'm happy, or I'm not happy, or whatever'. Now, it's a lot of questions going around."

United face Club Brugge in the Europa League last-32 second leg at Old Trafford on Thursday, having drawn 1-1 in the first leg.

An obsession with tactics, team spirit and an Arsenal Christmas dinner helped convince Robin van Persie that Mikel Arteta would become a head coach.

Arteta was appointed Arsenal boss in December after the Gunners had endured a wretched final few weeks under Unai Emery and interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg, in which they won just one of 13 matches in all competitions.

The Spaniard has already had an impact on Arsenal's fortunes. They have not lost a match since a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at Emirates Stadium on December 29 and claimed three consecutive victories last week over Newcastle United, Olympiacos and Everton.

Van Persie played with Arteta in 2011-12 before the former striker left for Manchester United, but that single season was enough to convince the former Netherlands star that his team-mate was a manager in the making.

Van Persie, speaking courtesy of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, told Stats Perform: "Yes, I did [see Arteta becoming a manager].

"I played with him, if I'm correct, for one year. I was the captain for that year; he was our vice-captain. He was constantly talking about tactics, how we should play. He was really good in that way.

"He was a very good player, but he was constantly busy with the team, busy with the atmosphere, the whole team spirit thing was important to him. He invited all of us to his house for a Christmas dinner! He was already then acting like a coach."

Arteta spent three seasons as assistant to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City after retiring from playing in 2016, and Van Persie does not believe he could have had better preparation for the Arsenal job.

"What I like about Mikel is that now, being a coach at Arsenal, a big plus is that he worked with Pep for a few years," he said. "There is no better college.

"He has been learning from Pep in the last three years as a coach, he played for Everton, he played for Arsenal, he had a nice career, and then had three years with Pep. That gives him an advantage as a coach.

"With him, you have the feeling that, if you look at Arsenal now, it's going somewhere. He needs time, obviously, to bring his philosophy to the club. He comes across very well in interviews, before and after the game, and I think the Arsenal fans and everyone listening to him has the feeling that he's going places."

Arsenal host Olympiacos in the second leg of their Europa League last-32 tie on Thursday, holding a 1-0 lead from the first leg in Greece.

UEFA has announced Inter and Ludogorets will meet behind closed doors at San Siro in the second leg of their Europa League tie on Thursday.

The decision has been taken by the governing body due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak in Italy. Two people have died in the country while reports say dozens more have tested positive.

Bulgarian champions Ludogorets had demanded assurances that it was safe to travel to Milan in a statement released on Sunday, calling on UEFA to provide swift clarification.

Inter, who won the first meeting 2-0 thanks to goals from Christian Eriksen and Romelu Lukaku, will stage the return fixture without any fans present inside the famous venue.

"Earlier in the day, the Milan club sent a letter to Ludogorets, announcing that the city's health authorities allowed the match to be held without fans," a statement on Ludogorets' website read.

"The European headquarters informs Ludogorets that it will demand the decision of the Milan medical authorities. UEFA also announces that it is monitoring the situation in Northern Italy and will react immediately if changed.

It was confirmed by Inter in a statement on Monday that no spectators will be present for the encounter.

Inter's clash with Sampdoria was one of four Serie A fixtures to be postponed on Sunday, while there are doubts over whether their upcoming trip to Juventus will go ahead.

Italy prime minister Giuseppe Conte has said all of the top-tier Italian games, including the blockbuster showdown in Turin, could be called off due to the virus, which originated in China.

Bulgarian champions Ludogorets have demanded assurances that it will be safe to travel to Milan for Thursday's Europa League clash with Inter after Italy's coronavirus outbreak.

Christian Eriksen and Romelu Lukaku scored as Inter beat Ludogorets 2-0 in the first leg in Bulgaria, but reports have already suggested the San Siro return match could be played behind closed doors.

Inter's game against Sampdoria on Sunday was postponed over local health concerns, with Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte confirming the fixture was one of several that would not go ahead.

Italy is battling to contain the virus, which is officially named Covid-19, after the deaths of two people and confirmation that dozens more have tested positive.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Ludogorets expressed their concern and appealed to Inter and UEFA to provide swift clarification.

The statement said: "FC Ludogorets have formally asked UEFA and FC Inter about the situation in the Italian region of Lombardy, whose capital is Milan. Coronavirus-infected cases have been reported there in recent days.

"More than 600 supporters of the Bulgarian champions are expected to support their favourites at the San Siro on Thursday (February 27) in the rematch of the 1/16 finals of the Europa League.

"Many of them have already purchased plane tickets, and there is organised bus travel from Bulgaria to Italy.

"Ludogorets expect an official statement from the European headquarters and a quick explanation from Inter about the situation in the city. If received, the club will immediately notify supporters of the situation in Milan by a message on its official website.

"PFC Ludogorets will liaise with Bulgarian diplomatic authorities on the situation in Italy."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed Anthony Martial to reach 20 goals for Manchester United this season but wants the striker to toughen up.

Martial scored for the 14th time in all competitions on Thursday to earn a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Europa League last-32 tie with Club Brugge.

That goal came just three days after the forward's expert header put United ahead in their 2-0 Premier League win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

No United player has reached 20 in a single campaign since Romelu Lukaku in 2017-18 and, although Marcus Rashford is on 19 for 2019-20, his back injury is likely to see him miss almost all of the rest of the season.

Solskjaer thinks Martial is showing signs of getting used to playing as a centre-forward after time spent as a winger, and he expects to see the 24-year-old keep up his form.

"I think Anthony can step up and get a few more and get to the 20-mark, definitely," Solskjaer said.

"He's got quality, of course. He's a very good finisher, he takes his chances really well, good technique in his finishing, and he's good receiving the ball at times, dropping off, he can play almost like a false nine at times.

"Sometimes, I'd like him to be stronger physically."

Describing Martial's header against Chelsea as "a 1980s centre-forward goal", Solskjaer added: "I'm encouraged by his attitude this season as well, wanting to do those things that are not natural to him. But you've got to make him a number nine again after playing wide for so many years. Marcus and Anthony have played wide until the last 12 months, really."

Solskjaer wants to see a more clinical United against Watford on Sunday, having been deeply disappointed with the performance of his players in a 2-0 defeat at Vicarage Road in December.

The United boss hopes January arrivals Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo – who spent three years with Watford – will add a greater cutting edge to his side.

"That was a very disappointing game. We should have won that one. We gifted them the two goals and we had chances to pull away ourselves, but you can't win games if you don't take your chances," he said.

"I feel that with Bruno coming in, with Odion coming in, we'll get more goals. That's been lacking in the games we've lost: West Ham, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, we've had chances and not taken them. You can see that Bruno gives us another dimension."

United could be boosted by the return of Scott McTominay at Old Trafford, the midfielder having been sidelined since December 26 with a knee injury.

"I think he might be in the squad," Solskjaer said.

"I'm not surprised [by his quick return] because that's the type he is. He's a physical specimen, he's a leader, he never shirks a tackle and he brings everyone with him. And he can sit with Nemanja [Matic] or Fred or be one of the runners in midfield.

"We were talking here today how we don't have enough runs past the striker. He used to be a striker, so he's used to being in the box."

Thursday's draw in Brugge was another match where Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes were not involved, the youngsters instead having played in a youth game.

The future of the pair is unclear as they enter the final stages of their United contracts, but Solskjaer appears keen for them to stay.

"We're still in talks with them," he said. "Tahith scored today. He'd rather play a game than sit in the stands here, so it's making sure he's ready when he gets a chance. He played really well against Wolves in the FA Cup.

"The boys have got great attitude, they're absolutely top-class boys and we're doing what we can to keep them. In a few years, you can see them being very, very good players."

Mikel Arteta hailed Arsenal's heart and commitment, revealing three of his side played through the pain barrier in Thursday's 1-0 Europa League win away to Olympiacos.

Alexandre Lacazette's 81st-minute strike earned the Gunners the advantage in their last-32 tie ahead of next week's return at Emirates Stadium.

It was a gritty Arsenal performance, with defenders Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos both needing late treatment at Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium.

Arsenal are now unbeaten in their past nine games in all competitions, with Arteta happy impressed by his team's mentality in Greece.

"We go day by day and game by game because in this process there are a lot of things that I want to improve, a lot of things I see that doesn't allow us to dominate a game more and better to create more situations," Arteta told BT Sport.

"At the same time, they're playing with a massive heart and the attitude and commitment - the way they were tracking back, we have three players with cramps and injuries and they still carried on, so credit to them."

Arsenal have a foot in the last 16 after impressive young winger Bukayo Saka recorded his fifth assist in this season's Europa League – more than any other player – to set up Lacazette late on, despite the 18-year-old playing out of position at left-back again.

While Arteta was satisfied with Arsenal's second away victory since he succeeded Unai Emery, the Spaniard felt the margin of their win could have been more comprehensive.

"It's a really good result, to win away in Europe is very difficult. To come to a ground like this, credit to the lads," Arteta said.

"We suffered in the first 10 minutes, we gave a lot of simple balls away when we had the chance to open them up and generate the overloads, in these situations we gave the ball away.

"So, we could not generate any continuity in our play. After that, we started to have more control in the game and create the situations that we wanted and created some good opportunities.

"In the second half, apart from the set pieces, we controlled the game much better defensively. We controlled the game in the opponents' half much better, and we have chances to score more.

"I think we could have put the tie in a much better position, it's still good but we had clear chances with top players and we expect to put the ball in the net."

Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno applauded Bukayo Saka for his decisive assist in Thursday's 1-0 Europa League win at Olympiacos, lauding the "outstanding" 18-year-old as Mikel Arteta commended his "courage".

Saka is enjoying a breakout season with the Gunners, making his 25th appearance of the campaign as Arsenal took charge of their Europa League last-32 tie.

The teenager, who has been playing out of position at left-back recently, laid on the crucial pass from which Alexandre Lacazette netted the winning goal in Piraeus.

That was his ninth assist of the season across all competitions and his fifth in the Europa League, the most of anyone in the competition.

Saka's performances recently have attracted a lot of praise, and Leno was similarly impressed with him on Thursday.

"Bukayo is an outstanding player and hopefully he stays very long at Arsenal," Leno told BT Sport.

"He's very important and I think today his cross was very good for Laca [Lacazette] to score. We are happy we now have the advantage, the away goal, and at home we want to beat them again and go to the next round."

What makes Saka's rapid progression even more impressive is the fact he has been asked to take up a more defensive position than before, and Arteta believes he has reacted promisingly to the alteration.

"We try to put him in a position where we can surround him with the right players and in the right areas, as he's not a full-back," Arteta added to BT Sport.

"He's responding well and he has a lot of courage to make decisions in the final third, the most opportunities we created was on his side again and I'm very pleased with his performances."

Backup goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez featured between the posts for Arsenal during the Europa League group stage, but Leno was chosen on Thursday in a move that suggests the German will be first-choice in both Europe and the Premier League.

Leno is grateful for Arteta's faith.

"I want to play all the games," he said. "I, and we, take this competition seriously because it's another chance for a trophy and to qualify for the Champions League.

"So, I want to play all these games and I'm happy the manager made the decision I play the Premier League games and Europa League games as well."

Erik ten Hag admits he expected more from Ryan Babel after the winger let his frustration get the better of him in Ajax's 2-0 loss to Getafe in Thursday's Europa League tie.

Last season's Champions League semi-finalists Ajax named a strong side that included Donny van de Beek, Dusan Tadic and new Chelsea signing Hakim Ziyech but registered just two shots, neither of those on target.

The last-32 first leg was briefly halted after Deyverson appeared to be hit by an object thrown from the away end when celebrating Getafe's deserved opener.

And Kenedy compounded Ajax's misery with a deflected shot at the end of a feisty affair.

Babel was one of three visiting players booked after catching Allan Nyom with a stray arm, before comically mocking his opponent's theatrical reaction by rolling on the floor and then mimicking the Getafe player's limp.

Ten Hag questioned Babel's actions, and the Netherlands international himself acknowledged he should have kept his cool.

"It wasn't smart. I don't expect that from an experienced player," Ten Hag said at his post-match news conference.

"You need to stay calm and use your head. You have to focus on your job, playing football."

Babel, speaking to FOX Sports, said: "I don't know if I would do it again.

"I found that the referee was fooled by the opponent at crucial moments. I was done with that. 

"I thought the opponent was exaggerating a lot, so I got a yellow card. 

"At times, we played nicely, but it wasn't good enough. We have a lot to analyse. Hopefully we can make it up to the fans."

Getafe - third in LaLiga - frustrated Ajax as the ball spent just 42 minutes and 36 seconds in play - the second-shortest amount of time in a Europa League game since 2009.

"There's been a lot of teams that lost here," Ten Hag added. "We know we can do better, we showed that in the final phase of the match.

"The fact is that you can't make mistakes at this level. In that case, your opponent gets the better of you - especially this opponent. 

"We gave them what they were looking for, and we know that, too. We're experienced enough to realise that, but you need to be patient and wait for decisive moments."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.