Ajax knocked out of Champions League; "Bitter", coach says
Ajax was eliminated from the Champions League after a 0-1 loss against Valencia in Amsterdam on Tuesday. Coach Erik ten Hag is very disappointed, calling the defeat unnecessary. "We had the opportunities, but we did not take advantage of it," he said, according to NU.nl. "This is incredibly bitter.
The coach was horrified to see Valencia striker Rodrigo score the only goal in the 24th minute of the match in the Johan Cruijff ArenA. "We completely unnecessarily got a goal against us, because we did not give anything away for a long time," he said. "We suffered ball loss twice very quickly. That is not allowed at this level. After that, nothing was going on and we could have fixed it, but that did not happen."
Overall, Ten Hag is satisfied with how Ajax played during the group phase of he Champions League. "We achieved ten points, played a good group phase and were on the verge of qualifying for the knockout stage two matches ago," he said, referring to a 4-4 draw against Chelsea, when Ajax lost a 1-4 lead. "That makes it extra bitter We deserved it, but we left it. The disappointment is huge."
Daley Blind expressed similar sentiments to NOS. "This is very painful. Being eliminated with ten points. I think we deserved more as a team," the footballer said. "We played fair to well. I saw a team that fought and was very dominant and controlled Valencia. The second half in particular was good, but there were no real chances for us."