Peter Bosz finds it hard to estimate how the home game against Celta de Vigo will play out. “I’m not sure what to expect. Celta changes its team for practically every match, both competition and European. We’re just going to play to our own strengths.”
According to Bosz, the deciding factor in the game will be how well each team can play its own game. “We’re working on the development of our game in a certain way. And there’s a clear improvement. And, if a setback comes, you hope that you can take two steps forward after that. I think Celta’s a strong team, but they have weaknesses. They did very well against Barcelona. They took a quick 3-0 lead. The same happened on Sunday against Las Palmas. That shows Celta’s strength. On the other hand, they suffered three goals against in both of those games.”
In terms of Ajax’s European performances, Bosz sees steady improvement. “I think that there’s a parallel with how we’re playing in the Eredivisie. At the start of the competition, the results weren’t good, and neither were the European ones, with our elimination by Rostov. But the football is gradually getting better and so are the results. We can’t complain much about those these days.”
In the past few years, the Europa League – Europe’s second highest club tournament, after the Champions League – has become the domain of Dutch teams. Bosz has an explanation for this. “The really big clubs are growing financially. We can’t compete with that. Just look at the television funds in the big European competitions. The gap is getting bigger. That’s the reality. Our players are moving abroad at a younger age now.”
Frank de Boer, Bosz’s predecessor, spoke of the desire to win the Europa League last season. Ajax is currently doing well in the group phase and, should they win, would be ensured of a continuation in Europe after the winter break. When asked about his (European) ambitions, Bosz kept it simple. “We just want to win as many points as we can and win matches. We’re not looking any further than that. We have no idea which opponents we would potentially get in a next stage.”
'Quickly regain previous level'
Bosz was questioned about the attitude and behavior of Bertrand Traoré. The forward from Burkina Faso hasn’t yet won over all Ajax fans. “There’s nothing wrong with his attitude, but his form’s off”, answered Bosz. “I know that he can do much better, he showed that at the start of his time at Ajax. But since the last interland period, he hasn’t regained that level. Now it’s time for him to do that, as quickly as possible.”
Anwar El Ghazi’s punishment was also brought up at the press conference. The player has been relegated to the Ajax Reserves for one month as a disciplinary measure. Bosz addressed this briefly. “I understand that players will be disappointed when they don’t get to play. But they need to deal with that in a certain way, and El Ghazi dealt with it the wrong way. I think that his punishment is fitting. Period. Our focus is now completely on Celta.”