De Boer: 'Roda a mental measure '

De Boer: 'Roda a mental measure '

Frank de Boer thinks the home game against Roda JC will be a good measure mentally.  The Ajax coach hopes to see that his team has matured.  “After matches against Fenerbahçe, Vitesse and Feyenoord, the team may be tempted to think: let’s just get this over with.  But we need to show one hundred per cent dedication.  If we don’t, we’ll have a very tough time against Roda JC.”

Ajax lost its midweek cup match against Feyenoord.  Despite the hangover caused by the bad result, De Boer has seen hope in some areas.  “We’ve been eliminated for a prize, and that’s a big shame.  That’s clear.  But I also saw some good, positive points.  We talked about this in our post-game discussion, maybe even more than what went wrong.  The point is that we’re going for this.  And not only 45 or 60 minutes, but for the whole match.”

Step forward

In the weekly press conference, De Boer stated that he felt that Ajax had taken a step forward.  According to the coach, this is the result of making clear agreements and living up to them.  “In the beginning, the guys had to start believing.  But you can see that if we work together, we can bend our opponents to our will.  That’s what you want to see from Ajax.  I also think we need to show more bravado.”

In de Kuip, Daley Sinkgraven was on the squad, as number ten.  The lefty impressed his coach.  “At times, I saw the Daley that I want to see.  Especially in the first half, although that can be said of everyone in the first half.  Daley played with guts and courage.  I enjoyed watching him.”  Mike van der Hoorn was another player who drew De Boer’s praise.  It had been a while since the defender had been given a starting spot.  “He definitely did well.  I knew that he could, that’s why I played him.  Is he an option for Saturday?  Absolutely.”

Tactically better

De Boer was also asked about his substitutions tactics this season.  One reporter has noticed that Ajax has been making substitutions later in the second half, and seldom at halftime.  “Mostly, you can see that some guys get tired around the sixty minute mark.  As a coach, you need to consider whether you need to bring freshness into the team.  If you make changes in the break, then it’s always tactical.  Or someone is injured.  If the plan of attack is being carried out properly, substitutions at halftime aren’t necessary.” Then, De Boer was asked if Ajax is tactically stronger this season.   “Yes, I think so”, answered the North Holland native.

After three away matches, Ajax will finally play at home.  The expectation is that Roda won’t be focused on the attack.  On the contrary.  “I think that they’ll be waiting for the counter a lot.  They have fast and physical people in front, who can hold onto the ball.  We certainly can’t give them much space.  In the home game against Feyenoord, Roda played very well.  They created a lot of opportunities and were threatening.  We can’t let that happen.”

FC Utrecht – Ajax

Ajax’s upcoming away match against FC Utrecht was also discussed.  Utrecht’s mayor has decided that Ajax fans will not be welcome in de Galgenwaard on December 13.  Ajax’s club management has issued a statement expressing their disappointment at this.  De Boer shares the sentiment.  “In the end, we’re the ones getting punished, while we couldn’t do anything about it.”

After a short silence: “But I can also imagine that the mayor of Utrecht wants to avoid any risks.  Let’s be clear that the best situation is for supporters of both teams to be present at a match.  Everyone can support their own team and the fans can have their own singing battles. But apparently that’s not possible in the Netherlands.  Such a shame.”