On Sunday, Peter Bosz saw his Ajacieds work hard and win their home game against FC Utrecht: 3-2. This was reason enough for the Ajax coach to send his team into the interland period with a compliment.
“At the start of the season, I was often critical of my players, but now, I have to pay them a compliment”, said Bosz at the opening of his press conference after Ajax – FC Utrecht. “We’ve played many matches during this period, and so close to the interland period. I’m very happy that we managed to win this game. Just like on Thursday against Standard Luik, we fought for the win until the end. I have to give a big compliment to the guys for that. Sometimes, though, we do it the hard way. But Utrecht has many good players.”
Despite the 3-2 win, it wasn’t exactly a relaxing afternoon for the coach. Too much happened for that to be possible, and FC Utrecht was too tough of an opponent. Bosz saw Ajax both control and falter in the first half. After a solid opening phase in the ArenA, another one following in which Utrecht could have done the home team much more harm. That harm remained limited to Kevin Conboy’s opening 0-1 goal. The Utrecht team left several opportunities unconverted. “We were lucky that is wasn’t 0-2”, said Bosz.
After Utrecht player Ramon Leeuwin (1-1) scored the tying (own) goal, Ajax slowly regained its grip on this home game. Opportunities flowed. “Sometimes, we try to make it too pretty”, was Bosz’s comment on the opportunities that his team had during both halves. The coach will require his Ajacieds to be more decisive in the future. “Sometimes, you just need to take the shot. Make it happen.”
Full-on for the win
At a 1-1 tie, fifteen minutes before time, Riechedly Bazoer was substituted for Daley Sinkgraven. Bazoer wasn’t happy with his substitution, but Ajax achieved its mission.
Bosz: “With Riech, we were going full-on for the win. But when he got kneed, we didn’t take any chances and brought Riedewald in for him.” Lasse Schöne (from a penalty) and Hakim Ziyech secured the win. Mark van der Maarel’s 3-2 goal came too late for the Utrecht team.
After a series of good games, the interland period seems to come at a bad time for Ajax. The Ajax coach, however, sees some benefits. Bosz is also realistic. “You know at the start of the season that an interland period is scheduled for this time. You just need to deal with that”, he concluded. Players who are substitutes with their club can often count on playing time with their national teams. “Sometimes, a period like this can be nice for the guys: they can get playing time with their country teams and come back to their club refreshed after two weeks. Now let’s hope that all of the guys come back safely from their interlands.”