Peter Bosz is still in his groove as Ajax’s coach. A couple of disciplinary suspensions for Nemanja Gudelj and Anwar El Ghazi haven’t taken anything away from that. “Not at all, I’m enjoying training with the players and preparing for new matches. It’s only you guys who keep on asking me about that”, said Bosz, referring to the reporters during the weekly press conference. “It think that Ajax has done a great job in setting clear boundaries for the players.”
Ajax plays at home against NEC on Sunday, but that match wasn’t the main topic of discussion at the press conference. It was mostly Nemanja Gudelj who was the story of the day. The Serbian midfielder had had a meeting with Bosz and Edwin van der Sar earlier on that day, but there was no reconciliation.
“It wasn’t a long conversation”, says Bosz. “He said that his point of view hadn’t changed, and neither has ours. Neno believes that he should be playing and for that reason, he mentally can’t handle sitting on the bench. That’s unacceptable for us. Either you get over it, or you don’t. This means that, until the winter break, he won’t be in Ajax 1.”
'Fundamental difference of opinion'
“I’ve never had this happen to me before”, continues Bosz. “I think Neno’s a good guy, who has always shown outstanding dedication, but in this case, we have a fundamental difference of opinion. But I can’t force him, I don’t have a gun”, said Bosz with a wink.
The coach feels that the situation has been handled well. “As Ajax, we’ve given a very clear signal this is unacceptable to us. I can’t imagine that any other club would feel differently.”
Unlike Gudelj, Anwar El Ghazi appears to be willing to fight his way back. The wing forward also had a meeting with Bosz. “He apologized and we accepted his apology. Marcel Keizer is very pleased with him.” As previously agreed, El Ghazi will remain with the Ajax Reserves until December 1.
Bosz emphasized that he understands that the reserves may feel disappointed, but he expects his players to behave in a professional manner. “We have a large selection, with many options at midfield in particular. We have so many great players, including guys who aren’t playing. I can only put eleven of them in the line-up. I can imagine that some players are disappointed. Some guys who are currently on the bench were playing with the Dutch national team last season. But it’s just important to handle it in the right way. Players always need to convince me that they should be playing.”
It’s not only at midfield that Bosz has his pick of players. He’s also well served in the right back position. Bosz explains that it’s a close call between Kenny Tete and Joël Veltman, and why the latter player has been getting the nod. “I’m very satisfied with Joël. I think he’s an outstanding player, someone who can defend very well. But Kenny is an outstanding player, too. Again: I need to make choices, and in this case, between two very good players. Kenny trains well and I’m convinced that he’ll be ready if the club needs him.”
In the past
On Sunday, NEC will visit the Amsterdam ArenA. Earlier on this season, Ajax suffered two setbacks at home against low-ranked teams, but Bosz thinks that these problems are in the past. “I hope so. That was a poor period when we weren’t playing well. We got eliminated by Rostov and were unable to win at home two times. We were still seeking the balance at midfield. But lately, we’ve faced defensive opponents who play compactly and wait for the counter, but we’ve done pretty well.”
Tickets Ajax - NEC
Ajax - NEC will take place on Sunday in the Amsterdam ArenA. Kick-off is at 14:30. Tickets can be ordered via the link below.