Bosz wants three points against 'unknown' Greeks

Bosz wants three points against 'unknown' Greeks

Ajax has already been assured of participating in European football after the winter break, but the fifth group duel is still important in many ways for trainer Peter Bosz.  In addition to defending their number one spot against Panathinaikos, the Ajax coach also wishes to further fine-tune the team’s playing style.

“For me, the priority is for us to win the game and be number one in the pool”, said Bosz during the press conference.  “But I also want to further develop the playing style.  And in order to improve on this, you need to play in the same formation frequently.  I’ve also said quite often that we have more than eleven players.  The guys need to get their playing time on a regular basis.  I also want to see a few of them be active at this level.”

Bosz had already announced several changes, but not a complete upheaval of the team like for two of the KNVB Cup games.  The coach didn’t want to reveal the line-up as the players had not yet been informed.  “I think the guys need to hear it from me.”

Ziyech and Riedewald
However, during the press conference, he did mention a few players who would not be participating in the game.  Hakim Ziyech will be absent due to the flu.  “Hakim’s been sick for the past two days.  He came to the club today, but was immediately sent home by the doctor.  He’s too sick to be part of Thursday’s selection.” In addition to that, Riedewald will also be absent due to some physical discomfort.  “Jairo is having problems with his knee and had to quit partway during the last training.  I’m not going to let him play tomorrow.”

Finally, Riechedly Bazoer will also miss the Europa League match, for disciplinary reasons.  Bosz explains: “On Saturday, Riech got injured and he was sick on Sunday.  On Monday, he reported to the club and immediately wanted to train with the group.  I didn’t think that this was a good idea.  I think that you first need to be evaluated by the medical staff, and he didn’t want to do that.  We had a discussion and he apologized.  He’ll join the group again on Friday, but he won’t be in the selection for tomorrow.”

Fantastic attitude
There’s a chance that some of the reserve players will get the opportunity to show what they can do.  Bosz expects that they’ll be highly motivated.  “With the guys who played against Kozakken Boys, I didn’t see any disappointment whatsoever.  They played a fantastic game.  And if you can motivate yourself in that way for a game against Kozakken Boys, then it definitely won’t be a problem to do that for a game against Panathinaikos – a much more compelling opponent.”

Lasse Schöne joined his coach at the press conference.  The Dane was asked whether he thought that the fact that the Greek competition has been paused for a few weeks will have any influence on this game.  He said that it would not.  “No, we won’t change how we play.  Panathinaikos is a big club, and I’m sure they’ve played friendly matches.  We going to play our own game and see what they come up with against that.”

Bosz, however, felt that Panathinaikos’ recent free schedule could be a disadvantage.  “The fact that they haven’t played an official match in three weeks makes it tough to evaluate what we can expect.  But we’re preparing according to what we already know about them.  They’ve played one friendly match, but there’s no footage.  We know who their opponent was.  We also know that they sometimes play with five defenders, three midfielders and two forwards.  And sometimes, they play 4-3-3.”