Bosz: 'Ziyech makes passes that you and I don’t even see’

Bosz: 'Ziyech makes passes that you and I don’t even see’

At the press conference leading up to Ajax – Vitesse, the main topic of conversation was Hakim Ziyech.  Peter Bosz didn’t say whether Ziyech will make his debut or not, or in which position he would use the attacking midfielder.  The Ajax coach did express his admiration for the player.  “I see him chiefly as a good player who could play very well in three or four positions within our playing style.”

“It’s evident that Hakim is a player who adds value to Ajax, and we didn't have this type of midfielder before”, continued Bosz.  “He’s very good at putting players away and making passes that you and I don’t even see.  And obviously, he can score a goal or two.  That’s great for any coach.”

Needs time
Bosz expects that it will take some time for Ziyech to get adjusted and to find his way.  “It’s very important that players get to know each other’s qualities.  Perhaps someone likes to have the ball at his feet, or maybe they prefer for it to be cleared away.  One player may like to receive a pass with his back to the goal, with a defender at his neck, and another may prefer to receive it while facing the goal.  This all takes time.  You may very well have played against a player, but you only really get to know him when you work together.  On the other side, it’s also true that good football players usually click quickly.  You can see that with the under 12 team.  The best players intuitively play to each other.”

Not begrudging
There’s a big chance that Ajax will have to give up Ziyech temporarily after the winter break.  Morocco is playing in the Africa Cup, as are Burkina Faso (Traoré) and Cameroon (Onana).  “Burkina Faso and Cameroon have qualified, and Morocco had already earned a spot”, says Bosz.  “So we already knew that we would lose some players in January.  We just need to deal with that.  Or you can hope that the players don’t qualify with their country, but that’s not how I am.”

Against Vitesse, Bosz is going into his fifth competition match as Ajax’s coach.  He admits that he’s still finding his way.  “As a coach, I’m always looking for security. So you can ask: why is it taking so long?  And it’s true, it is taking long.  It’s the first time for me that it’s taking this long.”

In any case, Bosz can build the current group until the winter break without fear of transfers.  “It’s reassuring for me that I’ll be able to work with this group until the winter break.  Now, with the other trainers, it’s time to square things away as well as possible.  And the same goes for our playing style.  We’ve played with both one and two controllers, now it’s time to make a decision.” There is no shortage of options.  “We have lots of choice at midfield, and out in front as well.  And we need to make choices at the back as well.  My job as a coach is to make the best decisions.”

Special occasion
This game against Vitesse will be special for Bosz.  He was the Arnhem team’s coach until the end of December, after which he left for Maccabi Tel Aviv and arrived at Ajax.  “There are ten guys there who played under me.  So I know how these guys play.  That may be an advantage.  But on the other hand, I don’t know how the coach is going to set it up.”

When a reporter commented that the fact that the Vitesse players are also familiar with Bosz’s playing style could work against him, he was dismissive.  “I think that everyone knows my style after five or six years”, replied the Ajax coach.  “The important thing is that the execution will be as good as possible, and that they players know how to apply pressure and know how they want to play.”