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I will not give up, says defiant Solari

Madrid (AFP) – Santiago Solari insisted he would not resign as coach of Real Madrid despite his team being dumped out of the Champions League last 16 by Ajax on Tuesday. 

Madrid were thrashed 4-1 at home to lose the tie 5-3 on aggregate and fail to reach the competition’s quarter-finals for the first time since 2010.

It means they have been knocked out of the Copa del Rey, La Liga’s title race and now Europe in the space of seven days.

Solari was handed a contract until 2021 when he took over from Julen Lopetegui in November but the humiliating defeat means he may not last the season, let alone beyond the summer.

“I did not come to the club in such a difficult moment to give up,” Solari said after the game.

“Clearly we have given it our all but we have not managed to go through.”

Real Madrid had won the Champions League for the last three years in a row but Ajax were unfortunate to lose the opening leg in Amsterdam 2-1 and deserving winners at the Santiago Bernabeu.

“I’ve never felt as sick as this, I don’t know how to explain it,” said defender Dani Carvajal. 

“In one week everything has gone, and all of it after matches at home. Tonight we can’t look for excuses, they were better and they deserved to go through. 

“We have a young team that can improve. It is clear the season is over but we will continue working in the league because that’s what we have to do and we have to be professional.” 

Hakim Ziyech and David Neres put Ajax two up at half-time and the excellent Dusan Tadic made it three before Marco Asensio gave Madrid hope. 

But it lasted only two minutes, as Lasse Schone sent a bending free-kick into the top corner before Nacho was sent off in injury-time. 

“The week has been hard for us,” said Nacho. “We have practically said goodbye to the league, the cup and today was like a final in the Champions League. 

“This team is used to playing in finals but we are in a difficult moment, not everything in life will be winning Champions Leagues. This is when you have to stand up and be counted.” 

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