'I’m not exactly thrilled'

'I’m not exactly thrilled'

Frank de Boer didn’t bear around the bush at the press conference.  The Ajax coach has experienced better times.  “Under so many difficult circumstances – what’s going on in the club, the attacks and injuries – I wouldn’t exactly say that I’m thrilled right now.”

At the weekly press conference, questions were naturally asked about Johan Cruijff, who has stepped down as advisor.  “It’s a real shame”, says De Boer, who wishes Ajax’s club icon well in his battle against lung cancer.  “I saw him on t.v. yesterday.  I was glad to see that he’s in fighting form and determined to get better.  I would have loved for him to keep coming by once in a while to advise us.  But we’ll continue to execute Cruijff’s vision.”

De Boer emphasized that he doesn’t have any personal grudge against Wim Jonk, who is leaving Ajax due to an irreconcilable difference of opinion concerning the functioning of the technical heart.


“I don’t have any problem with him. This is a work related conflict that has been going on for eighteen months.  Kinsbergen has tried to solved it, and so has Van der Sar, but at a certain point, it’s just over.  You need to be able to sit down together.”

As far as De boer is concerned, not many changes will be needed in the next while.  “Again, I’m still working according to the vision that was started since the revolution.  That means giving as many of our own youth players the chance to play. In a pre- determined system.  Of courses there are details you can discuss.  Once in a while I will make a small change, but in my eyes, I’ve always stayed close to the plan.”

“In the end, we need to evaluate if it has been useful”, continued De Boer.  “We’ve won four championships in the last five years with between sixty and seventy per cent of our players from our own academy.  At times we’ve refreshed the selection with a new acquisition, but often with a youth player as well.  We need to keep the bar high for youth players to enter.  Instead of needing two years to ripen, that they can almost directly be fit enough for the first team.”

It’s only this way that Dutch football can survive, says De Boer.  “We must accept that we need to make do with young guys.  That results in fluctuations in the performances.  One time it will be amazing, and the next time it will be bad.  In the end, we need to re-join the European sub-top.  There are still people who think that we can still win the Champions League.  That’s very difficult, because we can’t compete with the big competitions anymore.  We can’t just fill a hole in our selection with a player who costs sixty million.”

Among the new generation of talents, Ajax may soon be able to reap the benefits from Donny van de Beek.  De Boer is happy with the midfielder’s development.   “Often, it’s only towards the second half of the season that the new players start to make an impact.  The Jupiler League is very different than the under 19s.  Often, it takes six months to get accustomed.  I feel that Vaclav Cerny has developed well, and the same goes for Adbel Nouri, but Donny has made the biggest strides.  That’s also why he’s training with us.  He’s very close.  His chance will come.”

De Boer quickly discussed Saturday’s match against Cambuur.  Winning is the motto.  “ We always need to win three points in the ArenA, whether we’re playing Feyenoord or Cambuur.  They haven’t won any matches.  I hope that we can take advantage of the situation they’re in.  Hopefully Cambuur’s tide won’t turn in the game against us.”