Turkey Diary (3): De Boer’s vision

Turkey Diary (3): De Boer’s vision

The training camp in Turkey is in full swing. On Tuesday morning, Ajax practiced under the fine Turkish sun. A fly in the ointment was Bruno Silva’s leaving. The Uruguayan’s right shoulder got dislocated, forcing him to leave the training. Ajax.nl spoke to Frank de Boer.

The small stand at the field of the Cornelia Diamond hotel is filled with, among others, Dutch and Turkish reporters, and the ladies’ team from the Tweedeklasser Glanerburg from Enschede. They all watch how coach Frank de Boer and his assistants, Danny Blind and Hennie Spijkerman, keep the training on the right track.

The ladies’ team from Glanerburg is one of many teams present at the training camp in Belek. They will close their five day trip on Tuesday with a friendly match against the ladies’ team from ADO Den Haag. Armed with cameras, the players record the varied Ajax training.

The Ajax players practiced on Tuesday morning without Darío Cvitanich (right ankle) and Oleguer (hamstring). They stayed behind in the hotel, just as Christian Eriksen did, who trained in the gym as a precaution. Demy de Zeeuw suffered from slight abdominal pain and practiced separately with physiotherapist Jos Kortekaas. Bruno Silva sustained an injury to his right shoulder, which became dislocated. The extent of his injury isn’t known yet.

The remaining players were subjected to an intensive training consisting of technical running exercises, running a course, and keep away. Frank de Boer believes that variety in practice is very important. “You shouldn’t always stimulate the body in the same way”, says de Boer while watching his players. “It can be explosive sometimes. It can be a matter of eight to ten seconds, but they need to go for it fully during that time. You engage different muscles that way. That’s how the body reaches its top condition.”

The Turkey training camp is the first one for de Boer as head coach. “Last season, we went away twice for a week with A1. But then, we were playing a match every day, so it wasn’t really a training camp.”

The emphasis on the Ajax practices this week is in the physical area. “We’ll go through a period soon when we’ll be playing during the week, and on the weekend. It will be tough to keep up fitness levels then, you can only maintain. During this training camp, we can bring the players’ fitness up to a certain level. In addition to that, you want to see some aspects back in the matches.”

At the start of January, it was announced that Frank de Boer would be Ajax’s head coach for the coming three and a half years. As the former coach of A1, Ajax’s highest youth team, he made a big, and quick, step to the first team after Martin Jol’s departure. De Boer showed last December that it was a good, and logical, move. “At first, I didn’t think it would go so fast. I was asked if I would like to assist the new coach, or, if no appropriate candidate was found, if I would want to take it on. Finally, the second scenario came true.”

De Boer led – after being named interim head coach two days earlier – Ajax to a 2-0 win over AC Milan in the Champions League, ensuring the team of a spot in the Europa League. Ajax then won at Vitesse (0-1), and placed for the next round in the KNVB Cup by defeating AZ in the ArenA, 1-0. Ajax’s prospects on the three fronts where they are still active in the second half of the season are good. “In Europe, we need to try to get as far as possible. And we can do that, we don’t need to be afraid of anyone. Where the KNVB and the national championship are concerned, you always need to go for it when you’re Ajax. I believe that Ajax must always strive for the championship, and definitely this season.”