UEFA Champions League: Celtic looking to complete double over Ajax
Amsterdam: Emilio Izaguirre says Celtic will be going all out for a victory against Ajax in Amsterdam on Wednesday that will boost their chances of reaching the last 16 of the Champions League.
The Hoops picked up their first points of Group H a fortnight ago when they defeated the Dutch champions 2-1 on matchday three in Glasgow.
Now the Scottish champions face Frank de Boer`s side in the Amsterdam ArenA knowing a win will put them in a great position to challenge AC Milan and Barcelona for a place in the last 16 of Europe`s elite competition.
Honduran international Izaguirre says there is a belief amongst the Celtic squad they can put on a performance capable of picking up a positive result.
"I have played in the three games and we`ve played well, and now we`re trying to get to the last 16. It`s good for the fans, my family and my country that Celtic are playing in this," Izaguirre said.
"It was a big win for us against Ajax as we have a very hard group with three big teams.
"But now we`re going for a win in Amsterdam and if we can get that we will be more confident for the game here against AC Milan, and that would give us a great chance for reaching the last 16.
"We will be trying our best to win and we have great belief for this game. In away games, we`ve had good discipline in defence and we`ll need this again. We have to concentrate hard over the 90 minutes as this is such an important game for us.
"Our mentality is always good in European games because Celtic are a big team with great fans and we want to do well."
Celtic will be without Adam Matthews and captain Scott Brown, who lost his appeal against a three match suspension handed to him for his red card against Barcelona, but Kris Commons and Greek veteran Georgios Samaras should be fit enough to play a part.
Ajax are suffering a crisis in confidence going into the crucial clash. The Amsterdam side haven`t won any of their last four games, in Europe or the Eredivisie, and suffered a 1-0 defeat to Vitesse Arnhem at home on Saturday that saw them drop to sixth in the league.
Manager Frank de Boer admits the pressure is all on his side in Amsterdam and his captain Siem de Jong says nothing but a win will do if they are to save their season and at the very least keep their hopes burning of a place in the Europa League for finishing third in the group.
"Is Celtic a must-win game for us? Yes, definitely, and all the Ajax players know we have to win it. It`s all or nothing for us now," the Ajax skipper said.
"Just because we lost in Glasgow doesn`t mean we`re about to give up on this group.
"We`ve got to have faith against Celtic. I know we lost to Vitesse in the league but this is a different opponent in a much different competition.
"Despite our recent form, every one of us will go on to the pitch believing we can win it. And why shouldn`t we?
"We didn`t play that well in Glasgow and, for us, it wasn`t good enough. But at the same time, we don`t think we deserved to lose the game.
"We created good chances against Celtic. As a team, we have to use that as motivation. We must remember those chances and believe we can do the same in Amsterdam - but score goals at the end of it.
"I`m sure we will play better against them at home. We will change our game slightly to make us even more dangerous in front of goal."