Jol lauds ‘craftsman’ Mourinho

Jol and Mourinho were adversaries in London when they managed
Tottenham and Chelsea respectively and the Dutchman admits he is
relishing the chance to pit himself against the Portuguese in the
Group G encounter at the ArenA. “Mourinho is a great coach and a
true craftsman,” he said. “I have come up against him five or six
times. He gets the most out of his team and has proved he is the
best in his field.” Madrid have already qualified for the knockout
phase and a point for the visitors would secure them top spot in
the pool. The stakes are higher for Ajax as they currently lie in
third place, just a point behind AC Milan with two games remaining.
Jol’s side have been inconsistent in domestic competition recently
but goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg is adamant the players should
not get bogged down by their form against the Primera Division
high-flyers. “We must enjoy playing this kind of game,” he said
before admitting Ajax were poor in the reverse fixture at the
Bernabeu which Madrid won 2-0. “In Madrid we did not play. It is
clear we should have done better.” Ajax will have striker Luis
Suarez available despite the club imposing a two-match ban on the
Uruguay international after deeming him guilty of biting PSV
Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal in Saturday’s goalless draw. The ban will
only apply domestically, however, meaning he will miss the
Eredivisie fixtures against VVV-Venlo and NEC Nijmegen. Madrid have
left out several players carrying slight knocks to ensure they are
ready for next Monday’s top-of-the-table clash with Barcelona at
the Nou Camp. Gonzalo Higuain, Sami Khedira and Ricardo Carvalho
will all remain in the Spanish capital with Mourinho calling up
Sergio Canales and David Mateos as well as youth-team regular
Alvaro Morata. Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas is hoping 2011 will
be the year when Madrid finally get past the quarter-finals, the
club having fallen at that stage in each of the last six seasons.
He told UEFA’s website: “It has stuck in our heads like a little
trauma, but this has happened to the players – me more than anyone
– who have been here a few years. “I’ve experienced and suffered
this situation but the new, young players have their own
experiences with previous clubs, so it’s not necessarily something
the squad as a whole think about. “It’s more the club which has
suffered this setback in the last six years.”