Nov 25 (Reuters) - The absence of injured Lionel Messi will make little difference to the quality of Barcelona's line-up and Ajax Amsterdam must focus on their own game in Tuesday's Champions League clash, coach Frank de Boer said.
"Even without Messi, it's a formidable team," he told reporters on Monday.
Ajax effectively need a home win to keep alive their chances of progress from Group H. The Dutch side, on four points, lie third behind already qualified Barcelona, who have 10 points, and AC Milan, who are on five.
"The most important is that we play our own game," De Boer told reporters.
"If both teams are playing well, then Barcelona have more quality. But in that case the best don't necessarily have to win. We will look to dominate them but we know that is not going to be easy."
De Boer said Barcelona under new coach Gerardo Martino had a more direct approach than during the time of Pep Guardiola. "They are looking to get the balls up quicker, it's maybe the Argentine influence but our battle plans will stay the same.
"We are now in a lot better form than when we met them earlier in the group."
Ajax, second in the Dutch league standings, lost 4-0 in Barcelona in September.
De Boer would not reveal who he intends to start as striker with Siem de Jong, Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and Bojan Krkic all absent. He must make a choice between Danny Hoesen, Davy Klaassen and Lasse Schone, who starred in the 1-0 home win over Celtic in their previous group match.
"Hoesen is a real striker but Davy can also play well in that position as he showed recently with the (Dutch) under-21s. Schone too knows how to play there. I'm pleased about the prospects of all three, you'll see that on Tuesday night." (Writing by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Justin Palmer; firstname.lastname@example.org +27828257807 Messaging email@example.com)