Maccabi Tel Aviv’s European adventure is over after they suffered a 4-0 defeat to Chelsea on Tuesday night. Going into Tuesday night’s game in Haifa, the Israeli champions still had a chance of finishing third in the table which would have secured them a place in the knockout stages of the Europa League.
However, the loss – the second time Jose Mourinho’s men have beaten them 4-0 this season – was their fifth consecutive defeat in this season’s competition and consigned them to finishing bottom of their group.
Conceding his side weren’t able to compete with the three other sides over the course of the campaign, manager Slavisa Jokanovic said: “We need to invest, but our market is very tight we’ve only five foreign players. To be more competitive we’ll need to do more.”
Their latest defeat wasn’t helped by defender and former Chelsea player Tal Ben Haim, being sent off in the 40th minute, by which time they were already trailing to Gary Cahill’s strike. Late strikes from Willian, Oscar and Kurt Zouma in the final 15 minutes secured the Premier League side’s win.
Refusing to comment on the sending-off, Jokanovic said: “It was very complicated for us to play 11 versus 11 against Chelsea and to play one man down made things even more complicated.
“Chelsea is a strong team on a different level and you can’t compare them to us. They have a great squad and a great coach and I’m sure they will improve. I was happy to have a chance to test myself and my squad against them.”
Mourinho said: “Maccabi deserved better than 4-0. They had good chances but Asmir Begović saved us at 1-0. We played well in the first half. The pitch wasn’t good and we had trouble building our play. We fell asleep and gave Maccabi a chance to get back into the match.”
Philosophical about the team’s future in the competition, Jokanovic said: “I expect Maccabi Tel Aviv will play better next year in the competition and this is the first year back after 11 years. I’m very proud even though we lost 4-0 as we showed a lot of character and effort.”