Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Slavisa Jokanovic admitted his team lacked quality after it ended its Champions League group campaign with six defeats from six matches, scoring just one goal..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Maccabi Tel Aviv was left with plenty to mull over after completing one of the worst campaigns in Champions League group stage history on Wednesday.
The 1-0 defeat at Dynamo Kiev meant Maccabi became only the third team ever to finish a Champions League group stage campaign without a point and with just a single goal to its name.
The three-time reigning Israeli champion lost all six of its matches in Group G by a miserable combined goal difference of 1-16.
Maccabi became just the 16th team in the history of the competition to lose all six of its games and the 10th to score only one goal.
At least it didn’t join the 2009/10 Maccabi Haifa as the only sides to end the group stage without picking up a point or scoring a goal.
Nevertheless, Eran Zahavi’s penalty in the 75th minute of the 3-1 loss to Porto at Haifa Stadium last month was of little consolation, with the yellow-and-blue being outplayed in its matches against Chelsea, Dynamo Kiev and Porto, not even managing to enter halftime in any of the games without trailing by at least one goal.
“I was happy that the team followed the plan that we had set out prior to the match and our defense was able to stop Kiev’s offensive players,” said coach Slavisa Jokanovic, who led Maccabi to the group stage for the first time after 11 years. “But we didn’t control the ball very well and we didn’t have many chances.
We showed organization on the pitch but we didn’t show quality in this tournament. We didn’t put ourselves in the right places on the pitch and the other teams punished us for that.”
Defender Eitan Tibi was hopeful the team can build on this season’s group stage experience.
“I agree with what the coach had to say that we gained a tremendous amount of experience going into the future,” he noted. “It’s a bit disappointing to end off a campaign the way we did without winning or drawing a match. But we learned a lot and Maccabi should look forward to making it into this tournament once again next year.”
Tibi said the squad has already turned its focus back to the Premier League.
“We know that our bread and butter is the league and making it into the Champions League was our prize for winning the league,” he said.
“We wanted to do better here but we have to now set our sights on the domestic league as we have plenty of tough games and challenges ahead of us.”