Ready for action against NAC

Ready for action against NAC

Ajax will face NAC in Breda on Sunday. After the disappointing tie with SC Cambuur, leader Ajax is in a position to bring three points home to Amsterdam on Sunday. Frank de Boer has a relatively fit selection at his disposal. Only Viktor Fischer and Nicolai Boilesen will be missing.

Ajax has a fit selection at its disposal. Except for Viktor Fischer (hamstring), everyone is available. Nicolai Boilesen could, in theory, play against NAC, but Frank de Boer prefers to avoid taking any risks with his left back. Boilesen has recovered from his hamstring injury but, as a precaution, will not be included in the match selection. He will look towards the KNVB cup semi-finals except AZ which is on the agenda for the end of this month.

De Boer didn’t exactly seem at his best on the field. Ajax’s coach suffered a knee injury earlier this week during a practice match with one of Ajax’s veteran teams. “My knee doesn’t feel great”, he said this afternoon during the weekly press conference. “But I’d rather be injured myself, instead of a player. I just can’t participate in the rondos myself right now. That’s the only thing that I’m hindered in on the field. Fortunately I can make everything else clear with words and gestures.”

The 1-1 tie with SC Cambuur has been felt this week in Amsterdam. “We discussed it with the staff and players. Looking back, our early goal didn’t really help us. Normally you really want to score early on in the match, but this time the early goal didn’t help us. Although we were prepared for Cambuur, the players were somehow less focused than usual. That just crept in. At those moments, we were just always one step behind. After the goal against, we suddenly won all of our duels. Clearly, we needed something like that to happen to become sharp again. Imagine in Cambuur had scored early on in the first half, we might have won. Sometimes, something like that can just awaken something in the team.”

De Boer continues: “The match against Cambuur occurred in a week in which many players had had mid-week interland games. Thulani Serero, for example, had just had a twelve hour journey, Davy Klaassen had just made his debut in the Dutch national team and Ricardo Kishna played with the Dutch Reserves for the first time. At those times, as a player, you’re dealing with a lot. You come back to your club full of information and then, just a few days later, you need to play against Cambuur. Something like that affects you. That’s the mysterious part of the mental aspect of football. I recognize it, because I experienced it as a player myself.”

The preparation for the away game against NAC Breda was somewhat more manageable. The internationals had Tuesday and Wednesday off, and they arrived fresh and fit at the club on Thursday. “We had two good training days, yesterday and today. And if you add in tomorrow’s training (Saturday), that should be enough to be fresh and fit at kick-off in Breda. Ideally, you’d like to redeem yourself for a result like the one against Cambuur immediately, the following day. Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that, so NAC just need to hang on.”

NAC- Ajax begins on Sunday at 16:30 in the Rat Verlegh Stadion.