Peter Bosz will have an almost complete selection at his disposal for Ajax – Roda JC. But, in addition to the suspended Joël Veltman, Amin Younes is also a question mark. But the coach has faith that he will be able to use the German on Friday. “If it goes well with him in Friday’s training, I’m going to put him in the selection”, said Bosz during Thursday’s press conference, two days before Ajax’s first home game of the season.
Younes sustained an injury two weeks ago in the first game against PAOK, but he’s well on the road to recovery. “He did everything today, on a wet field. If his body handles this well, I think I can declare him fit.”
'Only Roda matters'
Ajax will play the critical first of two matches against Rostov for qualification for the UEFA Champions League group phase. Bosz is not allowing the Ajacieds to focus on that match yet. “I haven’t said a single word about Rostov yet. And I don’t want to. Only Roda matters right now. We had a tactical meeting this morning and after that, we had a tactical training. We’re getting into the rhythm of two matches per week, but we’re living from match to match.”
During the weekly press meeting, Bosz was confronted with the statistic that Ajax sent the most passes deep in enemy territory during the first round match. The coach wasn’t surprised. “It’s actually logical, considering the way we play, applying lots of pressure. And because Sparta went back a lot, well then you end up playing in that zone a lot.” A comparison with Vitesse’s playing style under Bosz came up next.
A logical follow-up question was whether the Ajacieds had already taken ownership of Bosz’s playing principles. “Our intention is to take steps, but we still haven’t been able to execute it in a match to our complete satisfaction. This Ajax isn’t as developed in terms of playing concepts as Vitesse was back then. The players knew exactly what they needed to do at which moment.”
'True Ajax centre forward'
Two days before the match, there was not much talk about upcoming opponent Roda, but about a player that Bosz trained in his Vitesse days. Bertrand Traoré seems poised to come over from Chelsea on a loan out basis. “It’s not a done deal, but I really want him. I think that Bertrand is a true Ajax centre forward. I already thought that during my time at Vitesse.”
“Bertrand is complete”, contined Bosz. “I’ve been a coach for almost twenty years, but very few players have been able to surprise me with the things they do. At his first training at Vitesse, which was in Abu Dhabi during the winter break, he did that. The trainings were filmed and afterwards, I watched the footage. He surprised me mainly with the solutions he saw.”
Dolberg and Cassierra
Should Traoré come to Amsterdam, he’ll need to compete with Mateo Cassierra and Kasper Dolberg, players who Bosz claims to be ‘incredibly pleased with’. “Kasper came to us from the under 19s and went to the training camp in Austria. He had a harder time in the beginning, but after that, he made good progress. And from the moment he arrived with us, Mateo had made a very mature impression. He holds on to the ball, makes logical decisions, and scored goals. That last part is obviously important for a centre forward. And when he’s at trainings and gets knocked down by some of the physically strong guys, he just gets up, unfazed. I think that’s impressive.”