Celades rues missed chances against Ajax

VALENCIA • Valencia coach Albert Celades has urged his side to be more clinical in attack after Ajax Amsterdam's impressive 3-0 victory on Wednesday gave the Dutch side control of Group H in the Champions League.

It was Valencia's heaviest home loss in Europe since a 3-0 reverse against Swansea in the 2013-14 Europa League, and their worst in the Champions League for 15 years, dating back to a 5-1 thrashing by Inter Milan at the Mestalla.

"It's a tough loss. It's a heavy defeat - maybe not deserved but that's what happened," said Celades, appointed last month following the sacking of Marcelino.

"We had chances in the first half and didn't take them, but we played well. They were more clinical than us in front of goal."

Following a 5-2 loss to Barcelona to start his reign, Celades was undefeated in four matches in all competitions before Wednesday's loss. During that run, however, his team had scored more than once in a match only in the 3-3 draw with Getafe last month.

Valencia had just four shots on target from 14 attempts, while the Dutch champions had seven of 13.

Hakim Ziyech's stunning strike gave Ajax an eighth-minute lead, before Valencia captain Daniel Parejo missed a penalty for the hosts.

Forward Quincy Promes doubled the visitors' lead and an excellent team goal, finished by Donny van de Beek, capped another eye-catching display as last season's semi-finalists continue to make light of losing Frenkie de Jong to Barcelona and Matthijs de Ligt to Juventus.

Erik ten Hag's men now lead the group with six points from two wins, three ahead of Valencia and Chelsea after the Londoners edged out Lille 2-1 in France in the group's other game.

Ajax, who beat Lille 3-0 a fortnight ago, stretched their unbeaten European away run, including qualifiers, to 13 matches.

"I still believe we have some things to improve, but we can play such fantastic football," said ten Hag. "At times on the sideline, I can really enjoy us playing football. Not many teams can do this at Mestalla."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 04, 2019, with the headline 'Celades rues missed chances against Ajax'. Subscribe