Ajax will visit Valencia in the group phase of the Champions League on Wednesday, which, unlike the Amsterdam team, has had a chaotic September month. After the resignation of the trainer and two directors, the troubled club of Jasper Cillessen is ready for success in this early season and, above all, rest.
"Our group of players is too thin. If you look at the investments that Sevilla and Real Betis are making now, we are facing a difficult season", coach Marcelino García Toral warned in late August in the run-up to the new season. It cost the 54-year-old Spaniard dear.
Due to his persistent criticism of the purchasing policy, the already difficult relationship between the coach and club owner Peter Lim reached its boiling point last summer. The 66-year-old Singaporean took the comments personally and, according to Spanish media, Marcelino preferred to send them away immediately, something that happened last month.
For a long time it did not bother between the coach and Lim, who, according to Marcelino, was too concerned with technical policy. The owner would almost only want to do business in the field of transfer with his friendly business manager Jorge Mendes. In addition, Valencia failed to bring in Rafinha transfer target last summer, much to the coach's annoyance.
The resignation of Marcelino followed on Wednesday, September 11, when the season in La Liga was three rounds of play and Valencia was on 'only' four points. Reason enough for Lim to put an end to the successful marriage with the Spaniard, who had just pulled Valencia from his appointment in the summer of 2017.
The fired Valencia coach Marcelino. (Photo: Pro Shots)
Valencia successful under Marcelino
Under Marcelino, after turbulent years, Valencia ended two seasons in a deserving fourth place in La Liga and the club finally returned to the Champions League. 'Els Taronges' even reached the Europa League semi-finals in the 2018/2019 season and captured the Copa del Rey for the first time since 2008 by beating FC Barcelona.
From the start of this season, that joy has turned into great unrest, also at the administrative level. Mateu Alemany, the Managing Director, who supported Marcelino and who was also at odds with club owner Lim, was dismissed from his post and recently also Pablo Longoria, technical director, had to leave the field.
A week after his resignation, Marcelino once again described his difficult relationship with club owner Lim. "I was in Singapore last summer. He only congratulated me on the Champions League qualification, not on the Copa del Rey. In Lim's opinion, it was a nuisance tournament that we should not pay attention to. The win of the cup was perhaps a trigger to fire me. "
On the day of Marcelino's dismissal of the players' group and fans, the Spaniard Albert Celades was put forward as his successor. The desired shock effect was not achieved. The debut match of the tenth Valencia manager in five years ended in a painful 5-2 defeat at Barcelona.
Jasper Cillessen meets his old club on Wednesday. (Photo: Pro Shots)
Valencia seems to be finding its way up
Despite all the unrest, Valencia seems to have found its way up again. The six-time champion of Spain did not suffer any more defeat in the league after the breakaway in Camp Nou and even started the Champions League adventure in an excellent way by surpassing group favorite Chelsea on Stamford Bridge surprisingly 0-1.
After draws for home crowd against Leganés (1-1) and Getafe (3-3), Valencia booked the first win of the season last Saturday by winning 0-1 at Athletic de Bilbao, leaving Valencia in the left row again. It gives the club some air after the bizarre start of the season.
The selection is not very weak compared to last season. The departure of goalkeeper Neto to Barcelona - Cillessen took the opposite route - was the biggest loss. Valencia managed to retain striker Rodrigo and also strengthened with attacker Maxi Gómez, good for three league hits this season.
The main advantage for Ajax is the absence of Kevin Gameiro and Geoffrey Kondogbia, who cannot take action on Wednesday due to injury. Oranje-international Cillessen, Ajax's player between 2011 and 2016, will defend the goal against his old club.
The match between Valencia and Ajax starts on Wednesday at 9 p.m. in Mestalla and is led by Italian referee Daniele Orsato. The team from Amsterdam started the Champions League campaign with a 3-0 victory over Lille and, in terms of goal difference, lead in group H.
Stand in group H
- 1. Ajax 1-3 (+3)
- 2. Valencia 1-3 (+1)
- 3. Chelsea 1-0 (-1)
- 4. Lille 1-0 (-3)
View the program, the results and the positions in the Champions League