Prior to their meeting with Vitesse, Peter Bosz knew what his Ajacieds didn’t yet have: a win. This win came (1-0) and puts Ajax in a good place as they travel to Panathinaikos on Wednesday for their first UEFA Europa League match.
“I’m very happy with the win”, Peter Bosz opened his part of the press conference following the 1-0 win against Vitesse. “This is what the team needed. Points give confidence.” The Ajax coach had been considerably less pleased at halftime. The Amsterdam and Arnhem team were neck to neck in the first half. “In the first half, we had an open match”, said Bosz about the scoreless first half. “We also knew that we were playing against a very good team.”
The second yellow card, and automatic red card for Arnold Kruiswijk gave Ajax a numeric advantage two-thirds of the way through the match in the ArenA. The home team didn’t manage to cash in on the extra man situation by scoring a goal. “We had opportunities, but didn’t score”, said Bosz, critically. “The game against Roda just went badly. That’s why it was so nerve-wrecking today, in the last few minutes. But fortunately, it all ended well. That’s also one of the reasons I’m so happy with this win.”
It was no surprise to Bosz that his newest acquisition, Hakim Ziyech, wasn’t as dominant yet as he had been at FC Twente. “After signing the contract, Hakim immediately had interland commitments. So he only had three or four days to prepare for this match. It’s logical that he wouldn’t be totally in his element yet. His team mates need to get to know him better, and he needs to get to know them better too. And he may have been nervous. I would have been, in that situation.”
Bertrand Traoré was suffering from hamstring problems. Had this not been the case, Bosz would not have substituted the centre forward from Burkina Faso out. “But I would still have brought in Kasper Dolberg”, said Bosz. “Bertrand was feeling his hamstring. But I saw him sprint after that, and you can’t do that if your hamstring is injured. Maybe he just has a light sprain, or he had a cramp. We’ll see how he is tomorrow.”