Peter Bosz held his weekly press conference at the Toekomst on Friday. Two days before the home game against FC Groningen, the main topics of discussion were his team’s good form, Anwar El Ghazi, and the many talented players of the Ajax selection.
The team’s rise in the rankings is a tangible result of the team’s improvements. As of the last round of play, Ajax is now co-leader of the Eredivisie rankings. The Amsterdam team has an equal number of points as Feyenoord, but the Rotterdam team’s goal balance is slightly better. “Points give you peace of mind. Panic gives you nothing”, says the Ajax coach when asked. “When you don’t win points, there is no peace of mind.” The coach isn’t looking at competitors such as Feyenoord or PSV. “I’m focusing on our own playing. Looking at the others doesn’t help me.”
Desired playing style
Ajax’s own playing has also brought peace in the team’s folds. Bosz sees that his players are playing well according to the playing style he desires. And with this peace, the Ajacieds’ assertiveness has also grown. “The most important thing is to see progress”, continues Bosz, who admits that Ajax is still in the middle of the learning process. Bosz sees that his players are improving steadily. Applying pressure, regaining possession quickly, converting opportunities; these are elements that the Ajacieds are executing better and better. “The football is now much more fun for us and for the spectators. But there are always areas for improvement. But we’ve become more stable.”
As of December 1, Anwar El Ghazi is back in the A selection. The forward had been sent to the Ajax Reserves as a disciplinary measure. “El Ghazi did what he was supposed to do”, said Bosz. Ajax Reserves coach Marcel Keizer briefed the head coach on El Ghazi’s trainings. Bosz saw himself how the right forward performed well in the Jupiler League matches. “The foundation is to work hard for the team; that’s where it all begins. That’s exactly what I saw him do with the Ajax Reserves. As agreed, he’s returned to us per December 1.”
El Ghazi could potentially fill in for the injured Bertrand Traoré on Sunday. On Saturday, the technical staff will decide who will step in for the injured forward from Burkina Faso. Davy Klaassen will also be absent on Sunday. The captain has been suspended. Bosz wouldn’t divulge who his replacement will be. The coach will first discuss his decisions with the team on Saturday. Donny van de Beek seems to be a contender to step in for Klaassen.
“Donny van de Beek has many qualities and is a quick thinker”, Bosz describes his talent, Van de Beek. The midfielder has been substituting steadily in the past weeks. In the last match against Heerenveen, Van de Beek assisted Klaassen’s goal. “Donny sees a lot and has a good kick. He’s been doing an outstanding job in the past few weeks. As a substitute, you have to show that you want to help the team. He’s shown that, and I’m pleased about that.”
De Ligt and De Jong
Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong will not be in the selection. The teenagers will play with the Ajax Reserves on Friday night at Cambuur. “It’s important for these guys to play lots of minutes instead of warming our bench.”
The press conference ended with a question about FC Groningen. What does Bosz think of the Groningen team? To illustrate the strength of the upcoming opponent, Bosz refereed to the bench of the Groningen team. The substitutes show just how much talent the Groningen team has at its disposal. Fellow coach Ernst Faber has an arsenal of good players available to him. Among them are former Ajacied Hedwiges Mauro, Tom Hiariej and Bryan Linssen, each one an excellent player. “Groningen has an outstanding selection”, concluded Bosz. “They’ve had a tough start this season, but since they’ve been playing more often from the transition, their results have improved.”