De Boer: ‘Make better use of our opportunities”

De Boer: ‘Make better use of our opportunities”

Frank de Boer was obviously disappointed at the 1-0 loss to Dnipro. Still the coach saw some positive points that could help secure qualification for the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals in next week’s match in the Amsterdam ArenA. “We kept getting through, but need to improve our finishing.”

De Boer was upset at the great opportunities that Ajax failed to make good on, especially Thulani Serero’s chance (alone in front of the keeper) and Joël Veltman’s (could shoot in freely from a header pass). “Next week, we really need to do better with that kind of opportunity”, said the head coach. But he also acknowledged that Ajax should have brought more to the game. “We kept getting through, but we weren’t able to pull the trigger. I had hoped for more threatening play from us. That’s also the reason why I made that double substitution. We wanted to score here very much. I’d obviously much rather lose 2-1 than 1-0.”

The poor quality of the field didn’t help Ajax either, saw De Boer. “I knew that it would be very difficult on a field like this. It delays the play quite a bit and you always need to wait and see how the ball reacts. But I thought it was okay today in terms of playing. We had control, although I found us sloppy. We had the most possession, but they were more dangerous.”

Frand de Boer still sees a chance for Ajax to reach the quarter-finals. The players feel the same way. Nick Viergever: “Our assignment is clear: we need to score two goals. I think we played a decent game today, although we need to be more threatening.”

Viergever played his 40th European duel on Thursday (32x for AZ, 8x for Ajax) and hopes to play many more this season. “We’re still in the race for the next round. We need to ensure that we break down Dnipro faster next week. It’s going to be a full house in the ArenA. We’ll be flying.”