De Boer doesn’t want Ajax to overthink

De Boer doesn’t want Ajax to overthink

Frank de Boer wants the Ajacieds to be mentally relaxed leading up to the Classic.  “We should not get in a situation where we are overthinking everything just because we’ve tied two games”, said the Ajax coach.

“It’s important to start to feel good again”, said De Boer in Friday’s press conference.  “That usually has to do with a state of mind, and not necessarily with quality.  If we could do that before the winter break, then surely we can also do it after?”

With eight points in four matches, Ajax is still undefeated after the winter break, but the playing hasn’t been spectacular.  De Boer can understand the criticism.  “The fans haven’t exactly been spoiled for entertainment in the last few matches, that much is clear.  We’ve also lost first place.  In this situation, you know that you are going to be criticised.”

Opponent Feyenoord is going through tough times.  De Boer has empathy for his former team mate on the Dutch national team, Giovanni van Bronckhorst.  “I can imagine his situation.  Losing once or twice is bad enough for a top club, just think about what it’s like to lose five in a row.  I wish Gio good luck, I know how hard it can be.  Not that I’ve ever lost five in a row, but I know the pressure of working in a top club.”

To be answered later

De Boer didn’t want to discuss if this game against struggling Feyenoord is coming at an ideal time to restore confidence.  “That’s a tough question.  I’m sure they’re asking Van Bronckhorst the same one.  Is Ajax is the ideal opponent to turn the tide with?  I won’t be able to answer that question until after the match, although I am assuming that we are going to win.”

Feyenoord played with the 5-3-2 system against Roda, a system that was brought Louis Van Gaal success at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.  Whether or not the Rotterdam team will once again rely on this defensive concept remains to be seen, according to De Boer.  “If Kramer is completely fit again, they will have a real point person.  Then they may choose to play 4-3-3 again, as they’ve been doing all season.  But we’re prepared for both ways.”

Playing 5-3-2 has its benefits and drawbacks, according to De Boer.  “It can be a big advantage because you’re 1 on 1 a lot.  It’s then crucial who wins the most duels and who has the most guts to play past an opponent.  If you’ve passed someone, room is created immediately.”

Supporters desperately needed

On Thursday, Ajax’s player commission spoke with a delegation of supporters.  According to De Boer, it was a very good meeting.  “The supporters have a definite opinion of how the players are playing and behaving, both during and after the matches.  It was good to hear their point of view. The fans also listened to how the players felt.  There was mutual understanding.  It’s important that both parties left with the same idea.  We know that we need each other.”

During the weekly press conference, De Boer was asked about the closing of the transfer deadline.  A new centre forward, wanted by the coach, didn’t come.  “The club’s policy was that we had to sell someone in order to acquire reinforcement.  We agreed on that beforehand and everyone needs to stand by that, as difficult as it sometimes is.  Still, I think that this group is strong enough to win the championship.”

Only Richairo Zivkovic, who had been loaned out to Willem II, returned to Amsterdam due to the lack of perspective there.  De Boer is hoping for the centre forward’s redemption.  “He did an interview in which he reacted very appropriately.  He wants to work very hard in order to beat the competition.  That’s the only attitude I want to see from him.”

Heitinga

De Boer also gave his opinion on Heitinga’s farewell.  The defender has retired effective immediately and will be given a farewell on Sunday.  De Boer had painted a dismal picture for Heitinga at the start of the season.  “I told him honestly that I wouldn’t be using him, although he is very important in the locker room.  That was a blow for John and he needed to process it. And he started thinking of his future, and he wants to continue in coaching.  I am certain that he can be an important member of this organisation.”

In addition to that, Heitinga can still be admired on the training field for the time being, as he’s going to de-train.  “He can determine that himself, naturally in consultation with us.  He’s going to build down slowly but will still contribute.  He’s wearing an invisible captain’s band.  His voice is very important.”

But Sunday, the arch-rival awaits.  “Matches against Feyenoord are always special.  Only one thing matters: getting those three points.”