‘Reward for Muric’

‘Reward for Muric’

Robert Muric will make his debut in Ajax’s selection for Sunday’s match against Excelsior.  Frank de Boer announced this during Friday’s press conference.  “Robert has been knocking on the door for a long time, and this is his reward.”

Muric moved to Amsterdam six months ago and has adjusted fairly well.  “Robert has been here for a while and now speaks decent Dutch”, says De Boer.  “He’s feeling good and you can see that in the way he’s playing.  Although I feel we can get more out of him.  At the moment, he’s often good for about twenty minutes.  He needs to be able to make the plays he’s known for during ninety minutes.”

De Boer was asked if he has completely recovered.  The coach had to miss last Sunday’s game in Groningen, remaining behind at the hotel with the flu.  “I’m ready to go again”, answered De Boer.  He missed the final minutes of the match in the Euroborg.  “I had a television in my hotel room, but not the channel broadcasting the game.  I watched it on my mobile phone, but the signal wasn’t very good.  In the last ten minutes I just thought: forget it.”

De Boer didn’t enjoy watching from a distance.  “It’s no fun.  I’m tense even when I’m on the bench.  But watching on TV is the worst.  During the second half, we showed that we can play.  You could see immediately that we created opportunities.”

Grouped

De Boer is wary of underestimating Excelsior.  “They’ve posted decent results in away games against good clubs: 0-0 against Vitesse, and 1-1 against PSV.  They even had the best opportunities in the game against PSV.  They play a grouped game and it’s hard to break through.  We will need to be focussed, otherwise we’ll just be playing into Excelsior’s hands.”

De Boer was asked about his plans for Ricardo van Rhijn in the selection.  “I never reveal the selection beforehand, but it makes sense that Van Rhijn would be on right back.  Excelsior usually plays 4-3-3.  Maybe they’ll leave the left side open and Adil Auassar will need to get in there.  They initiated two goals against ADO Den Haag that way.”

Lasse Schöne, who returned to the squad in the last two games, was brought up.  “As a staff, we always look at how we can get the best advantage.  Sometimes that’s with Schöne at right wing, and sometimes it’s with El Ghazi.”

Indispensable

Nemanja Gudelj is indispensable for De Boer.  “You need certain types of players in your team, and Nemanja is one of them.  He’s doing so much right now that we simply can’t do without him.  Obviously there are still some rough edges in his play, but he’s aware of that himself and we’re working hard on these things.  I’ve said this before, but if Nemanja can improve on his weaknesses, he’ll be playing at one of the top clubs in Europe within one year.”

On Thursday evening, the Europa League – from which Ajax has been disqualified – resumes.  This is no longer a sore spot for De Boer.  “It’s a closed chapter”, he says.  “I enjoy watching matches, but I’m not really into it.” De Boer only saw the second half of FC Midtjylland – Manchester United.  “I went to play tennis with my daughter.  I’d been promising her that for a while.”

United lost again, and this was not very good for Louis van Gaal.  De Boer was asked his thoughts on his former teacher’s awkward position.  “I wish him the best.  But whether you’re with Ajax, Feyenoord, PSV or Manchester United, if you lose matches, you will be criticised.  That’s part of working at a top club.”