‘Celta first, then the Classic’

‘Celta first, then the Classic’

Prior to the training on Wednesday evening, Peter Bosz and Davinson Sánchez discussed the third UEFA Europa League group match.  In the Celta de Vigo stadium, Bosz discussed Ajax’s upcoming opponent and its chances of reaching the next round.  “If we win tomorrow, our chances are good.”

Ajax has travelled to Spain full of confidence.  After beating Panathinaikos and Standard Luik, Ajax is in the lead of group G, two points ahead of Celta.  Bosz’s team is also currently on a nine-game winning streak from various competitions.

A win against Vigo would bring Ajax on the cusp of making it through the winter break, as Bosz expects: “If we win tomorrow, our chances are good.” Although he immediately added that winning three points in Spain will not be easy.  When asked whether Celta would be their toughest opponent, the Ajax coach answered ‘si’.  “As we thought from the start, Celta is our biggest competitor, but of course, two teams from our team will go through.”

Replacement for Schöne
Ajax will have to play in Vigo without Lasse Schöne.  The Dane will miss the game, just like Kenny Tete, because of a foot injury.  It’s unclear how long the duo will be out for.  In the past few weeks, Schöne has been a steady asset on the squad as the midfield controller.  The veteran’s absence raised questions as to whether Jairo Riedewald would be the logical replacement on Thursday.  “First, I’m going to discuss that with the other coaches after the training.  Then, we’ll make the decision and inform the players.”

Celta will spare players, but Ajax won’t
The eve of Celta – Ajax cast its shadow on the weekend ahead as well.  During both press conferences, not only was Thursday’s game discussed, but Sunday’s as well.  On that day, in addition to Feyenoord – Ajax, Vigo also has an important game scheduled.  The Galician derby between Celta and Deportivo La Coruna is main topic of discussion in northwestern Spain.  This derby is so important that coach Eduardo Berizzo is giving the night off to five players for the Ajax match.  John Guidetti is in the match selection against Ajax.  The former Feyenoord player has recovered from his knee injury.

Bosz, however, is not planning on sparing any players in view of the Classic.  “No, I think differently about that.  I always want to play the best players.  The upcoming match is always the most important one, and we need to try to win it.  In short: Celta first, then we’ll focus on Feyenoord after that.” And then: “Is it an advantage that Celta isn’t playing their strongest line-up?  What can I say about that?  Perhaps the other players will grab their opportunity.  Moreover, selections, especially in such a strong competition as the Spanish one, consist of more than eleven good players.  We’ll see.”

Tim Krul was also discussed in the Celta press room.  Bosz doesn’t expect the keeper to make his debut with the Ajax Reserves in the away game at FC Volendam.  “The order is that he would first join trainings with the first team, and after that, play with the Ajax Reserves.  He’s already trained with the Ajax Reserves, so the next step is for him to train with us.” Whether Bosz would select a fit Krul, or continue with Onana, remains to be seen.  “The best keeper will play.”

Celta de Vigo - Ajax kicks off on Thursday at 19:00.