Bosz: 'Heracles are doing fine'

Bosz: 'Heracles are doing fine'

Ajax will visit Heracles Almelo on Sunday.  With just five points in its first five matches, the club has experienced a rough start to the season.  But Peter Bosz feels that his former employer looks pretty decent. “Don’t forget that they’re playing European football for the first time in their history.  A lot of attention has gone into that”, says Ajax’s coach.  “But I’ve seen them play and I have to say, I think they are looking just fine.”

“That last match against Excelsior was out of character”, says Bosz of the 3-1 loss at Woudestein.  “But with Heracles, you do have a match or two like that on occasion.  But otherwise, I think that Heracles’ squad looks solid.”

Bosz and his selection returned to the Netherlands shortly after noon on Friday.  Spirits were high after a 1-2 win against Panathinaikos, although Bosz remained critical.  “To be honest, I didn’t think that what we showed was very good.  It was a great win, in a cauldron, and well-deserves considering the match as a whole.  But if we had really been playing well, we’d have earned a bigger victory.”

Fit selection
Ajax seems to have come out of the match unscathed, although Bosz, before the training, wasn’t able to confirm that with certainty.  “As far as I can see, they look good”, offered Bosz.

The fact that Ajax has a fit selection at its disposal has a flipside.  Bosz regularly has to disappoint players.  In Greece, it was Riechedly Bazoer and Mateo Cassierra who were relegated to the stands.  “As a coach, you don’t like to do that, especially when players deserve to play.  Just look at Cassierra, who scored four goals with the Ajax Reserves.  You need to make those choices in Ajax’s best interest.  You try and predict how a match can go, and which substitutions you may need to make.”

Moreover, several players from the Ajax Reserves are knocking on the door.  “It doesn’t matter how old they are, if they’re doing well, they’ll make it in eventually”, according to Bosz.  And then, he adds: “But we do have a 25 player selection.  That wouldn’t happen so easily with a group of eighteen players.  We can reward players sooner.”

'Good times'
On Sunday, Bosz faces his former employer, a club that he says still means a lot to him.  “I got a second chance in professional football there.  Those were good times, athletically speaking, and I’ve kept a lot of friends from there.”

One of them is John Stegeman, Heracles’ coach.  “He was my centre forward at AGOVV when I was coaching there, and he became my assistant at Heracles.  We’ve known each other for a long time and get along very well.  We are in touch every week and see each other regularly.”

“When he was my assistant, I knew that he was going to be head coach”, says Bosz.  “He was a great assistant, but he had good head coach qualities.  It doesn’t surprise me that he got that position at Heracles.  I think he’s doing an outstanding job.  John took over in a very difficult situation.  I think they had zero points in seven matches.  That year, he stayed with it and the season after that, he reached European football for the first time ever in the club’s history.  That’s quite an achievement.”