Valencia coach Albert Celades is short for the team after reaching the eighth finals in the Champions League loft champions. The Spaniards had enough of the hard-won victory over Ajax (0-1) to reach the last sixteen as a group winner.
"We played against a very good team that did a great job last season in the Champions League with the same coach and many the same players, but my players did a great job. The fans will remember this victory for a long time", said a proud Celades after the game in the Johan Cruijff ArenA.
Ajax would have had enough of a draw for its own public to reach the knockout phase, but the team from Amsterdam created too little and saw Rodrigo make the important opening goal in the 24th minute. Despite a final offensive, that was all.
"We knew that we would be under pressure, but also that we would get our chances and we took it," said Celades. "Ajax kept on pushing in the second half, but they had few real chances despite their offensive."
240Ajax-Valencia summary (0-1)
"Great to be able to work with these guys"
The 44-year-old Spaniard was appointed to Valencia in September as a replacement for the fired success trainer Marcelino. Celades is happy that despite the turbulent period he managed to lead his team to the next round.
"I am so happy with a group of players like this. It is fantastic to be able to work with these guys; I told them that when I took office. We had a great group stage and it is entirely thanks to the players that we are at the top have ended in the group. "
Matchwinner Rodrigo thinks that the close collective at Valencia is the cause of the Champions League success. "This team is one big family. I cannot describe in words how important they are. We have brought the club back to a level where it has not been for a long time."
Valencia started the last round as number three in the group, but continues as a group winner due to the victory over Ajax. Chelsea won 2-1 against Lille OSC and finished number two.
270Review CL: 'Ajax may have more dreams in Europa League'
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