Erik ten Hag’s reaction was firm at the press conference leading up to PAOK – Ajax when he was asked how much he knows about the opponent. “We know everything we need to know”, confirmed Ajax’s coach, who revealed that Dusan Tadic will be his new (permanent) captain. In addition to that, Ten Hag said that Donny van de Beek will play both games.
“PAOK won the double last season, and was the undefeated champion. This was the toughest possible draw for us”, continued Ten Hag, who looked back to one year ago. “Do you remember Stadard Liege away, and Dynamo Kiev? Those were not easy opponents. But we have that experience from last season. We know that we’ll need to fight hard to get into the Champions League.”
Ten Hag was also clear about Van de Beek, who is rumored to have caught the interest of Real Madrid. “He’s here, and he’s going to play.” And when asked if this would be the case for the return: “Yes!”.
'Ik denk dat we met Daley, Klaas, Joël, Hakim en Andre meer jongens hebben die over leiderschap beschikken. We zijn allemaal captains.'
‘I think that with Daley, Klaas, Joel, Hakim and Andre, we have several guys who are leaders. We’re all captains.”
Ten Hag was asked by a reporter about his Spanish language skills. “Not good”, was his succinct answer. This lead to Ten Hag explaining how he communicates with his Spanish-speaking players.
“There are several members of our staff who speak Spanish. Christian (Poulsen), Michael (Reiziger) and Richard (Witschge). That’s fine, and we can can work it out well this way. In addition to that, all of the guys, without exception, speak good Engligh. So our communication is fine.”
Not waiting any longer
“I was going to wait until September first”, said Ten Hag. “But I’ve always said: once it’s clear, we can announce it. And this is the case, both internally and externally.”
Tadic was proud, but modest. “Yes, it’s great and it’s a privilege, but it’s not the most important thing. I think that with Daley, Klaas, Joel, Hakim and Andre, we have several guys who are leaders. We’re all captains.”