Ajax have nothing to fear from drawing Aston Villa in the Europa Conference League and in fact should be able to play their football against Unai Emery’s side.

That’s according to former coaches Fons Groenendijk and Robert Maaskant, who believe the draw is actually a good one for the Dutch giants.

Aston Villa were drawn against Ajax in the Europe Conference League last 16 draw yesterday, with the first leg set to take place in Amsterdam on March 7th before the return leg at Villa Park on March 14th.

It will see the two sides meet for only the second time in their history, despite both being former European Cup winners, with their last meeting coming in 2008 as Aston Villa won in the UEFA Cup group stage.

Villa will head into the tie as favourites given, they currently sit fourth in the Premier League and have been enjoying a much strong campaign than Ajax, who were at one point languishing towards the bottom of the Eredivisie but have since recovered to now sit fifth.

On paper Aston Villa would be the stronger side but Groenendijk and Maaskant disagree and actually believe the tie may suit the Dutchmen, even if they must still be cautious.

“An excellent draw,” said both former coaches in De Voetbalkantine.

“It is a blessing for Ajax that they draw a strong opponent. They are now forced to defend in a very small space. This season they have to give up what Ajax stands for. If they start playing Ajax, they will score 4 or 5 -0 off,” theorised Maaskant.

“Still, I think you can still play football against English teams. It’s a great draw for Ajax. Aston Villa is also playing less than at the start of the season,” Groenendijk added.