AC Milan v Ajax preview
Martin Jol's departure puts Dutch giants on back foot
Last Updated: 08/12/10 10:48am
Ronaldinho: Hoping to be fit
Managerless Ajax travel to the San Siro looking to secure a Europa League spot while AC Milan look set to make changes.
Massimiliano Allegri will look to rest players in a Milan side that are already guaranteed qualification to the Champions League knock-out stages.
The two sides played out a 1-1 draw in September, but results in the group have now left Allegri in a position of luxury.
"It's an important game for us," said Allegri.
"It's the Champions League and it's in matches like this that the real worth of a team comes out; that'll help me take my decisions in the future. It is not a vital game, that's true, but we have to give our best because victories give you confidence and confidence helps you win again.
"We are on the right track but there's still a lot to do. A few other teams probably have a better chance than us, but you also need a bit of luck to win the Champions League, especially in the knock-out rounds. I think Milan can go all the way."
Ronaldinho should be available despite missing training on Monday with an ankle injury while Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Gennaro Gattuso and Gianluca Zambrotta will all be rested.
Ajax will be looking for their first away win in Europe this year without manager Martin Jol, who made a shock departure on Monday. A win would guarantee third spot in the group with Auxerre lying just one point behind.
The Dutch side will take heart from the fact that Milan have won just one of their last eight games in Europe at the San Siro, a record dating back to December 2008.
The game will be the first for new Ajax caretaker manager Frank de Boer.
"I knew that one day I would become coach. They asked me if I was ready, and I said yes," said de Boer.
"Ajax is what matters. I want to bring the joy back; the players must be happy to play. When it comes to playing football, movement on the field and attacking, I am close to Johan Cruyff's philosophy."
Teemu Tainio and Thimothee Atouba missed out against NEC Nijmegen on Saturday with toe injuries, while Oleguer could feature after being sidelined with a muscle problem.
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