De Boer: ‘Everyone has processed it’

De Boer: ‘Everyone has processed it’

Ajax’s home game on Sunday against PEC Zwolle will partly be about Johan Cruijff. But  Frank de Boer wants his players to focus on the match first.  “It’s fitting that there will be an appropriate farewell.  I do think that everyone has been able to process it by now.  We need to stay focussed.  It’s a fact that we will win the championship if we win the last six matches.”

The subject of De Boer’s injury was also extensively covered at the press conference.  The coach tore his Achilles tendon about ten days ago.  “It’s going reasonably well”, said De Boer.  “Honestly, I haven’t had much pain, even after the operation. But it is, literally and figuratively, a thorn in my side.  It’s my right leg too, so I’m not able to drive and I am very dependent.”

De Boer evoked an old-fashioned sports cliché.  “I’ll be back stronger than ever”.  The North Holland native had already said that he is comfortable taking a step back.  “I have confidence in the staff; they know what they are doing.  They can take a lot off of my plate.  And if I don’t like what I see, I won’t hesitate to step in.”

Tackle someone

De Boer has watched the last two trainings from his buggy.  For Sunday’s game against PEC, he’ll be on the bench with crutches.  “I’ll send Hennie (Spijkerman) to the front and go myself now and then.” And then, with a grin: “And if necessary, I can also tackle someone.”

Arek Milik has been earning his coach’s praise in the past few weeks.  “We all knew that he could be exceptionally good, especially with his left foot.  But there were some things that he needed to improve, and he has done that.  Milik has always hustled, but you need to do it at the right time.  Same goes for holding on to the ball.”

De Boer refuted the idea that the centre forward position was under a magnifying glass.  “We always have high expectations and this goes for everyone.  We have a selection of 21 men, with eighteen field players.  Everyone has to do his very best and fight for his spot.” On

Sunday, few changes are likely to be made.  “I don’t have any reason to make any changes.”

Praise

Opponent PEC Zwolle has several players with an Ajax background in its selection.  Loaned-out player Queensy Menig was specifically discussed.  “I’m happy that Queensy has been playing a lot”, said De Boer.  “That’s what we want when we loan someone out.  He has taken big steps by playing high-level matches.  He’s defending the way it should be done in top football.”

Talk has come up last week of re-naming the Amsterdam ArenA the Johan Cruijff ArenA as a tribute to the legendary number fourteen.  De Boer was asked what he thinks of this, and replied with reservation: “The most important thing is what the family wants, not what Frank de Boer wants.  I’ve heard several ideas and suggestions, such as the Johan Cruijff Airport.  From that, it is clear that Johan is much bigger than Ajax.  A very great gentleman.”

De Boer finally discussed the aim for the rest of competition.  He left little room for interpretation: “We need to assume that PSV will win everything.  Therefore, that is what we need to do as well.  Fortunately, it’s all in our hands.  And if we make a mistake, let’s hope that PSV makes one, too.”