After Peter Bosz’s press conference on Tuesday evening, Davy Klaassen and Lasse Schöne looked ahead to the UEFA Europa League final against Manchester United in the Friends ArenA. The Manchester attack was also discussed in this press conference. The Ajacieds preferred to focus on Ajax’s chances in this final game.
Just like Bosz had done earlier in the Friends Arena’s press room, Klaassen and Schöne both expressed their heartfelt sympathy for the victims of the attack in Manchester, on behalf of the entire Ajax selection.
“Something like this hits close to home for us. What happened is just awful”, said Schöne after expressing his condolences. “Two weeks ago, my family was at the Ariana Grande concert in the Ziggo Dome. This feels very close. We have sincere compassion for the people in Manchester. As our coach just said: this attack takes the shine away from the final.”
The opening ceremony has been cancelled. Prior to the final game, one minute of silence will be observed.
In addition to being captain, Klaassen is also the Ajacied with the most European experience in Peter Bosz’s selection. All-rounder Schöne is one of Ajax’s uncontested veterans in the selection. The controlling midfielder is an invaluable link thanks to his experience. Both Ajacieds have the opportunity to win their first European prize in Stockholm.
‘Very special to play in a final with Ajax’
But, despite the sad events, the Ajacieds must focus on the final, as befits top athletes. “It’s very special to play in a final with Ajax”, said Klaassen. “That proud feeling is indescribable. Everyone knows what they need to do.”
The selection has been watching Manchester United videos in the past few days. But Ajax, true to tradition, will focus on its own strength and qualities. Klassen: “We have our own plan and tomorrow, we’ll see what United’s plan is.”
The fact that Ajax is the favourite according to many, leaves Klaassen indifferent. The Hilversum native feels that it doesn’t mean much. “We’re both playing in a different competition. The position of being the favourite doesn’t really do anything for us. It's not going to give us a 1-0 lead or anything.”
Just like his captain, Schöne is also proud to be in the finals with Ajax. “This will be the greatest match in my long career”, said the experienced Dane. “Today, we need to ‘pre-focus’ on what we need to do tomorrow. Anything can happen in a final. We need to play our own game. If we do, I think we have a good chance.”
Jari Litmanen is one of the prominent people who will be at the Friends Arena on Wednesday evening. Schöne: “He was a great Ajax player and a fantastic player. It’s great that he’ll be in the stadium tomorrow. I hope we can make him proud.”