Bosz: 'The only focus is Sparta'

Bosz: 'The only focus is Sparta'

During Friday’s press conference, Peter Bosz repeated his point of view from the past few weeks.  Ajax’s coach refuses to pay attention to a potential loss of points by Feyenoord.  And he’s not yet thinking about the upcoming Europa League match against Legia Warsaw.  For Bosz, the only focus is the upcoming home game against Sparta taking place this Sunday.  “We’re not going to win points by looking at what Feyenoord is doing.”

Previously, Ajax has regularly defeated Sparta at home.  When asked by a reporter if he thought that Sunday’s game would be a walk-over, Bosz shook his head.  “We’re not going to make it with that kind of thinking.  Of course we should beat Sparta at home, but it’s not going to be easy.  They’ve dropped in the rankings and are desperate to win points.”

“We just need to focus on ourselves”, continued Bosz.  “What are we doing well, and what do we need to do better?  That’s how we’re going to win points.  I feel that we’re on the right track with that and that’s really all that we can do.”

Due to the necessity to earn three points, Legia Warsaw hasn’t even registered yet.  “It’s key that we don’t start to think about that game until after Sparta.  If we’re already concentrating on that, then that will trickle over to the players, and they may not be one hundred per cent focused on Sunday.”

Bosz didn’t want to speculate about how the race for the Eredivisie will play out.  Ajax has a five point deficit on Feyenoord, but will host the Rotterdam team at the start of April.  In addition to that, PSV is still close behind.  “If nobody makes any mistakes and wins full points against the smaller teams, then the matches between the contenders could be decisive.  But if points are squandered, then they won’t be.”

'Thirty-degree difference'
Although to a lesser extent than last week, David Neres, the Brazilian acquisition from Sao Paolo, was discussed.  Bosz was once against asked when he thinks he’s be able to welcome the winger, but the coach was unable to answer.  Neres is currently playing in the South American U20s championship, and is still awaiting a work permit.  “There’s a processing time and we’re depending on other parties”, said Bosz.  “Sometimes, it goes faster than at other times.”

“I’m definitely curious about the player himself, both as a player and a person.  And how quickly will be adjust?  There’s no question that he can play football, but he’s coming from a very different environment.” And, glancing outside, he continues.  “For example, there’s the cold.  I was talking to Bertrand (Traoré) about it.  There’s about a thirty-degree temperature difference.”

Traoré has been active in the past weeks at the Africa Cup and reached a surprising third place with Burkina Faso.  On Thursday, the loaned out player from Chelsea returned to the Netherlands.  “He came out of the tournament fit”, said Bosz, who wouldn’t divulge whether Traoré would start on the squad or not.  “I know what we’re going to do, but I want to tell the players first.”

In the past matches, Justin Kluivert has been the only option on right back.  With the return of Traoré and the impending arrival of Neres, his chances in the near future seem to have decreased.  When asked about the situation, Bosz gave a matter-of-fact reply.  “That’s how football always works.  Would Dolberg have been playing if Huntelaar had come?  Probably not.  Sometimes, that’s just how careers start.  Justin is very young.  He’s even two years younger than Dolberg, and I’ve often talked about how young he is.  He’s training with us, that will make him better, and he’ll get playing time.”

This doesn’t mean that the die has been cast for Sunday.  “I want to win, so I’m always going to start the players I believe are the best.  That’s subjective of course, because it’s my opinion.  But together with the other coaches, we always decide what’s best for Ajax.”

The Ajacieds have been winning full points in each of their four games so far in 2017, and although their playing hasn’t always been stellar, Bosz sees improvement.  “I see an upwards growth.  We’re playing better and are more and more able to win.  I’m seeing that we’re giving away fewer opportunities and we’re often keeping a clean sheet.  You can only attack when you’re defense is good.”

Ajax - Sparta kicks off on Sunday at 14:30. Tickets are still available for this match and they can be ordered via the link below.