De Boer sees a fantastic challenge

De Boer sees a fantastic challenge

On Monday evening, Frank de Boer and Niklas Moisander sat down for a pre-match press conference at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, leading up to the Manchester City – Ajax Champions League match on Tuesday evening. Ajax’s coach has faith that his team can post another upset against Manchester City, after successfully doing so in Amsterdam. “It’s a fantastic challenge to deliver a performance of that caliber once again.”

Hopefully the bitter aftertaste of their defeat at Vitesse’s hands on Saturday has been dealt with. “You can do two things with that match. You can be totally negative about it, or you can try focus on the positive parts”, said De Boer about how he looks back upon that disappointing match. “Of course we’re bringing that bad match into this next one, because you can also try to learn from it, and that’s what we’re doing. We’ve evaluated the match well, but now our focus needs to be on this next important match.”
De Boer is vague about whether he will go with Christian Eriksen as a shadow centre forward, as he did for the match at home, or take a different route. “I have confidence in that system”, he says. “We’ll have to wait and see whether we go that way or not tomorrow. I’m going to see what will give us the most advantage – either a shadow centre forward or a real one.”
De Boer has faith in a good result in this match, despite last week’s meager results. Before the upset at home against Manchester City, they had also played a disappointing match against Heracles: “I always say that you’re as good as your last match”, said De Boer. “It’s inherent in a young team that sometimes it will bottom out, and when you don’t play a good match, you can’t manage to win it. But it’s a fantastic challenge to deliver a performance of that caliber again. We’ll have to be lucky. We’re playing against a good team, in a fantastic stadium. This team has already proven that they can do it. If we play our own game, we can make things tough for anyone.”
De Boer knows that City coach Roberto Mancini will be expecting the utmost from his team. “I don’t know if it will be a completely different match than two weeks ago. They can’t play with thirteen men…it will remain eleven against eleven. City has said that they need nine points from three games, starting with us. We know that. We need the points as badly as they do and will fight to the end, because we want to survive in the Champions League too. If we post a good result, then the battle will be blown open. The competition will definitely squander points, because Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund are playing each other. Then the battle is totally open, because then we’ll need to play Dortmund at home. But let’s get through tomorrow first.”
Just like his coach, Niklas Moisander has faith in his team in Tuesday’s match. “I think we can play well here. We’re ready. We were good in Dortmund and if we play as well as we did at home, with guts, then we’re strong. Our team doesn’t have the luxury to take it easy.”