This is not the most comfortable position Ajax has ever been in, leading up to a competition match against PSV. In Friday’s press conference at the Toekomst sports complex, Peter Bosz – unavoidably – looked back on a disappointing week. Ajax lost to FC Twente and Cambuur. Despite these losses, Bosz looked ahead to Ajax – PSV with confidence.
Less than twenty-four hours after the painful game in the Cambuur stadium, Ajax was still smarting from the loss. The Jupiler League kicked Bosz’s team decisively out of the KNVB Cup tournament by defeating Ajax 2-1. “A flop”, evaluated Bosz candidly. “But don’t forget that these guys did a great job against both Panathinaikos and Liège. This was no second-choice team. I’m disappointed with the result and the way we played. If you’re constantly one step behind, it’s going to be a tough match.”
Bosz took responsibility as well. “Yesterday, I failed to send the guys into the game with the right approach. Compliments to Cambuur, they did very well. But we didn’t do well ourselves. This cup loss is terrible, and I take it very seriously.”
Prior to the match against PSV, the loss at FC Twente still hurts. On Sunday, Ajax lost at the last minute in the Grolsche Veste: 1-0. It was the end of a good undefeated streak, one that had been maintained since the away game at Rostov. “That loss to Twente was a bitter end to that twenty-game undefeated streak. Now we need to pull ourselves up. We know how PSV plays; we’re going to be the ones with the ball, mostly. And when we do have it, we need to be in good shape. Many of the guys who played against Twente will play against PSV. It’s a new, separate game.”
Riedewald to replace Viergever
Nick Viergever has been suspended after his red card earned against Twente. Bosz confirms that Jairo Riedewald will replace him in the defensive heart. Bosz: “Jairo’s been outstanding as a central defender. He’s Viergever’s logical replacement.”
Daley Sinkgraven can play on Sunday as well. However, the left-footed player had to leave Friday’s training early with his coach’s permission due to personal circumstances. Bertrand Traoré will most likely be out for longer than first expected. The forward will remain in London for his recovery. Bosz expects more clarity on the return of the forward from Burkina Faso. “Then it will also be clear if he can play in the Africa Cup or not.”
Bosz expects that Ajax will end the first half of the season on a positive note – with a good result against PSV. Ajax can draw confidence from its own development, said the coach to the full press room. “We’ve been very strong collectively for the past three or four months. The improvement is very obvious in how we’re playing. But there is a lot of disappointment after the last two games. But the week’s not over yet. We’re coming up to a big match. And if we win it, then we’ll end the year positively. That confidence that we’ve built up in the past three or four months hasn’t suddenly disappeared. I don’t believe it has.”