Koeman: 'Football skills should give Ajax advantage'

Coach Ronald Koeman expects Club Brugge to come to Amsterdam for a draw in the UEFA Champions League match on Wednesday. That the Belgian side will deviate from their normal 4-3-3 system, is also something that Koeman foresees. ,,Just as Ajax do that occasionally. Our football skills should give us an advantage."

Koeman had a full squad on the last training session before Ajax left for Noordwijk for a short training camp. ,,That was good", the coach thought. ,,Last season it would sometimes happen that we had many injuries. We now have nineteen players in the squad. I added Nicolae Mitea. He is a young player with a lot of speed, surprising moves and a bright future. The UEFA Champions League is very interesting for him."

Club Brugge are no longer unknown to Ajax. ,,We did our homework", Koeman announced. ,,Just as they will have done theirs. We saw Club Brugge play four times, we know that they play a 4-3-3 system, although I gathered that that might be different tomorrow. Club Brugge are not a defensive side, but they're tough. It will certainly not be easy. If you eliminate Borussia Dortmund in the preliminary round, you must have a good team. Brugge are physically strong and well-organised. We have had our problems with physical teams, who play from a closed defence. We should avoid the one-on-one situations, because we won't win them. Our football skills should give us an advantage, just as they did in the matches against RKC, AC Milan and Willem II. Then we will be hard to beat by Club Brugge."

But Club Brugge are not Willem II, who were defeated 6-0 last Sunday, the coach realises. ,,We will have to reach a high level to win. We must show that we have grown and we expect to win at home. If that doesn't happen, we will be disappointed. For many we are the favourites for tomorrow and we will have to prove that they are right."

Ajax's squad; Lobont, Boschker, Trabelsi, Pasanen, Escudé, Yakubu, Van Damme, De Jong, Maxwell, Galásek, Sneijder, Van der Vaart, Wamberto, Pienaar, Sikora, Soetaers, Sonck, Ibrahimovic, Mitea.