‘I blame absolutely no one’

‘I blame absolutely no one’

NOS Soccer

Heitinga after elimination: ‘I blame absolutely nobody’

Ajax was not in the draw for the Europa League eighth finals on Friday and that hit coach John Heitinga and his players hard. “Sometimes you don’t always get what you deserve. Luck was not on our side.”

The 3-1 defeat at Union Berlin, after the earlier 0-0 in Amsterdam, marked a painful elimination.

To structurally join the European top, that is in fact the stated ambition. This season nothing at all has come of that. In the Champions League and then one level down in the Europa League.

“I don’t blame anyone tonight,” Heitinga revealed in Berlin. “I felt there was more in it. They struggled with our way of playing, with an extra midfielder, and then against this kind of opponent you have to get ahead yourself.”

Frustrations among Dusan Tadic and Steven Bergwijn

However, that did not happen after a handball by Calvin Bassey, from a header by Danilho Doekhi. The awarded penalty was kicked against the ropes by Robin Knoche.

“That 1-0 I personally find very unfortunate,” Heitinga said. “And at Doekhi’s 3-1 we have to defend better. Losing always sucks, but well, I am convinced we have to continue the line we started.”

Afterwards, things got grim for a while. Heitinga does not want to make the disagreement between players of both clubs too big. “You have to be a big loser and that’s us,” he said.

Also watch a reaction from midfielder Kenneth Taylor below:

Taylor on handball: ‘Bassey couldn’t do much about it’

Kayleigh Williams