De Boer sees Ajax’s improvement

De Boer sees Ajax’s improvement

Frank de Boer is pleased at the progress that Ajax is making.  The coach said as much during Friday’s press conference leading up to Sunday’s match at Willem II.  “I feel that all of the pieces are coming together, more and more.  For example, what is required when our opponent plays in a certain way, and which pawns we need to put in place in reply.  In that sense, we’ve improved a lot.”

“This is due to the fact that we can now go from week to week”, continues De Boer.  “Because of that, we can focus our attention much better on certain things.  You can talk about things, but it’s so much more effective to put it into practice.  In any case, automatic reflexes usually develop gradually in a season.”

Shining sun

Ajax played a heck of a match against AZ (4-1) last week and De Boer would like to see that continue against Willem II.  “We’re constantly evaluating and training the players on what needs to improve.  They looked good last week and I feel that these guys want to continue this way, too.  But we all know how the sun can shine one minute and the next, it’s raining cats and dogs.  Look at Feyenoord.  First they were pariahs and now, suddenly, they are walking on water because they’ve reached the cup final.  It can go that fast.  If we tie the match, it will be a different story.”

Andersen

In Tilburg, the Ajacieds will once again meet Lucas Andersen, a player De Boer holds in high esteem.  “I think he’s developing well.  We all know that Lucas is a good football player, but it’s also important for him to become more mature.  I hear good things about him from Jurgen Streppel.  Lucas has played as a winger and at 10.  We need to wait and see what will happen on Sunday.” According to De Boer, Andersen’s role in Amsterdam has not yet been decided.  “He will definitely return to Amsterdam at first next season.”

De Boer was also asked if he thinks that the English model of loaning out players could work in the Netherlands.  In England, it is often the case that loaned out players may not return to play with the clubs with which they are under contract.  “That seems the best to me”, answered De Boer.  “That way, you avoid landing up in a grey area, and you never have that conflict of interest.  Is someone doing their best, or is he extra motivated.  I understand that it can be sensitive.  Imagine that Lucas scores the winning goal, then maybe he won’t play Champions League next year.  But he should show us what he’s got next Sunday.  It’s up to us to make sure that he doesn’t score the winning goal.”

Steady improvement

Ajax will need to play without Anwar El Ghazi in the Koning Willem II Stadium.  De Boer said that either Lasse Schöne or Robert Muric will replace the suspended forward.  The coach expressed his satisfaction over the latter.  “I feel like Robert is making steady improvement.  I also hear good things about him from Jaap Stam and Andries Ulderink, the Ajax Reserves coaches.  But he’s not there yet.  Robert knows what he needs to work on.  He can’t just make 1,2 or 3 playes in a half, but 5,6 or 7.  And again in the second half.”

De Boer spoke about his vision for the race for the title.  Ajax needs to make up one point against PSV in the remaining nine games.  “I said it last week: matches like the one against Roda will be crucial.  In that match we were 0-2 ahead, but we only brought one point home to Amsterdam.  It’s important to be on the right side of the score, even in smaller games.  That will also be critical for PSV.  We’re both acutely aware that we can’t leave too many points on the table now.  Then, the meeting between us in Eindhoven will be very important.”