On Wednesday evening in the Amsterdam ArenA, Ajax will meet AZ, a team that is tough to evaluate. “In competition play, they’ve been pretty inconsistent”, says Peter Bosz. “One game will be good for them, and the next one will be mediocre. That inconsistency has been AZ’s trademark this season.”
The Ajacieds are hoping to extend their high from their Classic win (2-1) to this this provincial derby. In that match, Ajax collectively made a good impression. “The danger of picking a specific player from the line is that you sell the team short as a whole. The entire team played well. We wouldn’t have won so convincingly otherwise.”
Roles with Feyenoord reversed
Earlier this season, during the Classic in Rotterdam, Feyenoord was the dominant team. The roles were reversed last Sunday, and Bosz feels that this says a lot about the team’s progress. “Everyone can see that we’ve grown during the season. In our way of playing, the steadiness in our game, and applying pressure. In every way, this is how we want to play at Ajax.”
Bosz evaluated this game as one of the best under his leadership. “Copenhagen at home was a good match, too. The same goes for PSV at home, a game that we undeservedly tied.”
Interestingly, the above games were all home games against compelling opponents. But, says Bosz, this doesn’t mean that Ajax can only perform well in top matches in front of its home crowd. “After the winter break, we played an outstanding series of games, including some tough away games, and we won them all. We do show our stuff in top matches, but we do that in other matches too, fortunately.”
Dolberg and Younes back?
Bosz was unable to call on Amin Younes and Kasper Dolberg against Feyenoord. Once the duo has recovered, the coach won’t hesitate to include them in the selection. “If they’re able to play, they’ll need to play. But they have to be one hundred per cent fit, otherwise I won’t play them. We have a good, broad selection. If someone isn’t totally fit, then there are others who will be chomping at the bit to take their place. We can work with that.”
Although Bosz points out AZ’s inconsistency, he also holds fellow coach John van den Brom and his team in high respect. “AZ is a team that has always played in the sub-top, and would like to knock on the top teams’ door. They do that every year.” The Alkmaar team is currently ranked sixth in the Eredivisie.