De Boer sees potential after draw

De Boer sees potential after draw

Frank de Boer sees potential for Ajax in the UEFA Europa League group phase. In Friday’s draw, the Ajacieds were paired with Fenerbahçe, Celtic and Molde. “I believe we can make the next round”, said the Ajax coach. “They’re good opponents, but we definitely have a shot.”

Of the three opponents, Norwegian Molde is the least known. “They’re unknown to me, too”, said De Boer. “I know that they’ve been having a surge in the past six years. I think they’ve won the championship three times. I know that Solsjkaer became their coach, and that they were playing well. In a slightly un-Norwegian way, actually. When I saw the photos I also saw that they have a beautiful stadium, right by the water.”

Fenerbahçe and Celtic need no introduction. “They are, historically, great clubs, and they are also among the clubs with the best atmosphere. In that respect, we’ll be playing in some fantastic stadiums and our players can gain a lot of experience. But obviously, performance is very important.”

Favorite

De Boer sees potential to reach the next round. “I think that’s a realistic goal. Fenerbahçe would be the favorite, considering how strong the team is. But I still expect us to have a good chance against them. I think that Celtic and Ajax will come in second place. I certainly don’t think we’re weaker than Celtic. I don’t know Mold very well yet. But they’ve eliminated Standard Luik, a team that is usually a contender for the title in Belgium.”

Prior to Ajax, first Fenerbahçe, then Celtic were drawn. De Boer calls this a Champions League caliber pool. “The same goes for the group with Anderlecht, AS Monaco and Tottenham Hotspur. You can see how many great clubs there are in the Europa League. We certainly can’t think that getting through will be a cakewalk.”