Ajax boss Frank De Boer still sees his team as favourites for the Europa League tie against Celtic despite a poor performance in a 2-2 draw with FC Twente on Saturday. He told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf “We often do well against British clubs, because they want to play football. You get a lot of space. I am confident that we can win, but it will be difficult. Celtic can make it tricky for anyone.
“Because we’re playing at home, I think the probability of a win is 60/40. However, Celtic’s players are not stupid and will not go overboard when they attack. They will wait for their moment, we must be on guard.”
De Boer will be without World Cup finalist John Heitinga and Arsenal loanee Yaya Sanogo as both are not fit.
Regi Blinker, a Celtic player between 1997 and 2000, is wary of the threat Ajax pose to his old club. He said “Passion and physical are the magic words at Celtic. From my own experience, I know that, in terms of tactics, they are less well put together.
“If Ajax succeed in getting the ball to move quickly, they can play football between the lines and hurt Celtic on the flanks. I give Ajax a good chance, but they have to be less messy and much more purposeful than they were against FC Twente”
Blinker also believes that Celtic will not roll over, and, with Ajax not playing well, there may be an opportunity for the Glasgow club.
“I don’t think Ajax is in great shape” he said. “Celtic will put up an incredible battle during the game and will want to get into duels on the pitch.
“The question is how Ajax deal with them: they have to avoid those personal duels as much as possible”
Davy Klaassen, Ajax’s captain and attacking talisman told the club’s website that a victory against Celtic will form the basis of the Dutch club’s European campaign. Describing the group, Klaassen said “Normally, we should be able to survive the group stages. Fenerbahce are really strong in my opinion, but so are we and Celtic.
“We will have to collect most of our points at home, starting against Celtic. I hope we can get the best out of ourselves.”