“I don’t think of the problems, but of the solutions. That should be the approach we all take”, said a relaxed Erik ten Hag on the eve of the new season’s opening game against Sturm Graz. It was clear. Ajax’s coach is looking forward to the first official game of the season, which will be a good measuring stick. “We’re ready to cross daggers on the European stage.”
Technically speaking, Ajax didn’t have a great pre-season, but Ten Hag nonetheless maintains a good feeling from the preparations. “I think that we prepared ourselves properly, and carefully. It wasn’t totally optimal, but in football, it never is. You just need to deal with that. We played in several formations, but we got good insights that we can train for.”
Ten Hag: 'Dolberg is a big question mark'
Against Austria’s number 2 team from last season, Ten Hag can call upon a relatively fit selection. Only Kasper Dolberg is an uncertainty due to an issue with his stomach. “He’s a big question mark”, admitted Ten Hag. “Otherwise, I expect that everyone else will be available. Yes, including the guys who skipped a game as a precaution, like Lasse and Hakim.”
During the press conference, the topic of new acquisitions Daley Blind and Dusan Tadic was raised. The big question of course is whether the duo will play against Sturm Graz. Ten Hag’s answer was hopeful: “Daley obviously joined us later, at a time when the rest of the selection had already been training for several weeks. He’s still building up, but could potentially be in the selection. Whether he’ll start or not remains to be seen tomorrow.”