'Don’t need to be afraid of Feyenoord'

'Don’t need to be afraid of Feyenoord'

Frank de Boer doesn’t see a clear favourite in the Classic between Feyenoord and Ajax.  “Right now, I think it will be an equal match”, said Ajax’s coach in Friday’s press conference.  “But if we reach our level, we don’t need to be afraid of Feyenoord.”

“Feyenoord has an advantage because they’ve had the whole week to prepare for this match, and we’ve just played a draining game”, continued De Boer.  “They’ll want to redeem themselves for their loss against ADO.  They’re a good team. But in the cup match, we showed that we’re certainly don’t have to defer to them.  If we can play at the level we did in the first half of the game against Roda JC and Vitesse, we can win in de Kuip.”

During the weekly press meeting, the match against Fenerbahçe was discussed at length.  Ajax’s play was often sloppy and the team didn’t get further than a 0-0 draw.  De Boer drew a comparison with the second half against Feyenoord.  “If you are always playing this type of game, it drains your energy.  It has been the same story twice.  If you look clinically at the number of unforced errors against Fenerbahçe, it was frightening.  In this way, you give the opponent the feeling that they’re doing great.  That kind of pinball football is very draining and zaps your energy.”

Bravado

De Boer had a hard time hitting the nail on the head.  “I don’t know if it’s stress or anxiety.  It’s hard to say.  The fact is that it is this way, and it’s not only at Ajax that you see that players start taking fewer risks when things are not going well.  That also often results in poor play.  On Sunday we need to play with confidence and bravado.  And be careful when we do have possession.”

“It’s not a problem to pass a long ball sometimes”, continued De Boer.  “If you apply pressure afterwards and make sure that you gain possession.  Then you get the time and space to play football, but you need to make the right decisions after that.”

Captain Davy Klaassen joined De Boer.  The midfielder said that he had no problem with potential pressure from Feyenoord.  “They may do that, but last week, we showed that we can play our way out of that.”

There is a chance that Mitchell Dijks will make his return in de Kuip.  The left back trained fully with the team on Friday.  “We need to wait and see how he reacts.  It will be touch and go, for Mitchell himself as well.  He’s had this before, on the other side.  Ideally I’d like for him to start, but we need to be responsible about it.  There is still plenty of season left.”

Danger

De Boer announced that if Dijks plays, that Jairo Riedewald and Joël Veltman will form the central defense duo.  If Dijks turns out to not be fit enough, Mike van der Hoorn would be a logical replacement in the defensive heart.  The defender easily neutralized the danger posed by Feyenoord striker Michiel Kramer ten days ago.  Viktor Fischer was forced to the sidelines during the Fenerbahçe match due to a leg injury, but he will be ready for the match on Sunday.

At the press conference, the weaker Dutch performances in the Europa League were discussed.  “It’s going to be grim”, said De Boer.  “These are not the results we want to remember in the second European tournament.  I thought AZ was a great example.  How did you play?  ‘Very well.  We were better, but we lost’ That’s what happens a lot at the European level”

De Boer said he’s looking forward to the team’s second visit in eleven days to de Kuip.  “It will be a special match.  If we lose we’ll still be in the lead, and it’s a nice meeting.  But we can take a good step to go up six points on our competitor.  If we get into that position, we’re going for it.”