On Sunday, against Utrecht, Ajax will seek its first competition win in six years in that city. The last Eredivisie win there dates back to March 1, 2009. Frank de Boer is still hunting for his first competition win in Utrecht as a coach. He does have a cup win under his belt: “The first win is coming. Let’s hope it comes on Sunday.”
Always difficult. These are always the words used on the eve of an Ajax game at FC Utrecht. Frank de Boer emphasized this on Friday afternoon, after the training, in front of an Ajax TV camera: “This is always the match of the year for Utrecht. As soon as the playing schedule is published, they look forward to this match. The same happens at ADO Den Haag. Moreover, thanks to the interland break, they’ve had two weeks to prepare. We know what’s waiting for us.”
This season, FC Utrecht has only collected 17 points in its last 14 home games. Only FC Dordrecht and Go Ahead Eagles have lost more often that that at home this season. On the other hand, Ajax, despite a large deficit against leader PSV, is having its best season yet under De Boer in terms of points. Two seasons ago, Ajax had 60 points in 28 games. Now the counter is at 62, with six matches left to go. And to think that Ajax, since De Boer joined at the end of 2010, has never lost one of its last six matches of the season.
In many ways, a win in Utrecht would be welcome. In addition to securing second place (and putting pressure on PSV), De Boer would like to rid himself of a negative statistic. As a coach, he’s never won a duel in Utrecht, except for that cup win in 2012. “The first win is coming soon. Let’s hope it comes on Sunday.”
In addition to Daley Sinkgraven and perhaps Nick Viergever, Ajax will have to do without club top scorer Arek Milik on Sunday. The 21 year old Pole, who signed a four-year contract with Ajax this week, got a knee injury during this week’s interland. De Boer: “It’s a real blow that we will have to play without him. He’s the only player who returned injured from the interland period.” Ajax’s coach is pleased that Milik will remain an Ajacied for the next few years. “Both inside and outside, he’s a true professional. Considering his young age, we’re going to have a great future with him at Ajax.”
FC Utrecht - Ajax starts on Sunday at 12:30.
Watch an extensive interview with Frank de Boer on Ajax TV later today.