Champions League: Ajax coach Frank de Boer wants to beat APOEL to make Europa League
Last Updated: 09/12/14 7:04pm
Ajax coach Frank de Boer wants to see his side reach the Europa League to continue their continental commitments into the new year.
The reigning Eredivisie champions cannot reach the knockout stages of the Champions League but any positive result at home to APOEL on Wednesday night will secure third place in Group F.
The Dutch giants have only picked up two points from their opening five fixtures, including a 1-1 draw in Cyprus, as Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona dominated the group.
But De Boer is determined to seal a point and take his team into the Europa League draw, believing it to be a valuable learning curve for his players.
"You should always aim for the best," he said. "Also in the Europa League play great teams, the aim is to be better and stronger. Therefore, European games are so important for development.
"The pace is higher. It is much better than only playing in your own league - it is positive to be active for a long time in the Europa League.
"Ultimately, I would have still prefered to have fought for second place. We knew it would be tough in this group but the results are the only facts that matter."'
A 5-0 win over Willem II in their last league outing will no doubt given De Boer and his players the belief to get the required result.
They will however be without injured striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, although the Iceland international penned a new deal with the club on Tuesday.
APOEL can still pip Ajax to third spot and the sole Europa League spot on offer but they will have to do win away from home for the first time in 11 Champions League encounters.
The Cypriot champions slipped to a 4-0 defeat at home to Barcelona on matchday five but they have established a five-point lead at the top of their domestic league with back-to-back league wins, giving Giorgos Donis' side the confidence they need to cause an upset at the Amsterdam ArenA.