Peter Bosz filed his summary of the Europa League match against Panathinaikos in the ArenA on Thursday around midnight. On Friday afternoon, the Ajax coach sat before the press once again in the Toekomst sports complex. The main topic of discussion at press conference for the away game against sc Heerenveen was – inevitably – the 2-0 home win against the Greek team.
Bosz had re-watched the Panathinaikos match in meticulous detail. This was with the aim to help his team improve and reap the advantages of this on Sunday. “We started off messy, and didn’t create much danger”, Bosz looked back on the game in the EL pool phase. “That was logical, because many of the young guys hadn’t played together until now. But still, we kept complete control for the entire game. We played an outstanding match.”
Against Panathinaikos, Bosz called on a very young team. The substitutes were also among the up and coming talents. Bosz enjoyed the young guns’ performance. “We’re a club in which education is very important”, he emphasized. “It was great that so many of our young guys played yesterday. Ajax started with five guys who are younger than twenty. And if it weren’t for the fact that Jairo was injured, the average age would have been even younger.” When asked, Bosz had praise for the performances of Donny van de Beek and goal-scorer Kenny Tete. Bosz: “But there are so many other young guys who had a terrific match. As a team, we played an outstanding match yesterday. Some guys don’t get much playing time, and they still need to be ready.” Bosz considers the midfield to be the key for the series of recent wins. “We’re becoming more and more dominant.”
After so much looking back, the press conference shifted gears at the end to look ahead to the upcoming game against Heerenveen. There was much interest in which Ajacieds would be selected for Sunday’s game in Heerenveen. Hakim Ziyech has been sick last week and has lost a bit of weight. The midfielder watched the duel against Panathinaikos from the comfort of his couch at home. Ziyech trained on Friday. Bosz: “We’ll see how he’s doing on Saturday (after the final training) and evaluate whether he’s recovered enough to play on Sunday. Players need to be one hundred per cent fit for a spot in the match selection. The same goes for Bazoer.” Jairo Riedewald is a question mark for Sunday.
Bosz thinks that Heerenveen is a worthy opponent. The Fries team is in the sub-top of the rankings for a good reason. “Heerenveen’s doing well. They’re a team who had a hard time one season, but then can play at the top the following season. Heerenveen plays compelling football. Attacking and lively. Entertaining to watch. It will be hard for us on Sunday. Heereveen has given Feyenoord a hard time, among others.”