After winning the match against FC Copenhagen (2-0), a calm and proud coach was in the press room. “We had a great night. I watched a very good Ajax”, said Peter Bosz after the game.
“I’m very proud. I told the players this in the locker room, too. When I look at what they brought today, I can only be proud. The fact that it led to the quarterfinals is great, but it’s just a quarterfinal. Is this the best match under my leadership? Well, we’ve played well before. But we were focused from the start, and not after 27 seconds, and we stayed that way for 90 minutes. We were dominant and kept creating opportunities.”
“There was a lot of excitement around this match beforehand. We needed to make up a 2-1 loss against a team that doesn’t allow many goals against. I had expected for Copenhagen to apply pressure from the start, but they did it the entire time. I had said that we’d need to make the difference with the way we play, because that’s where our strength is. And that’s what we did. If you take the first goal, which was built up from the back, you can see that we succeeded. It was a risk, but that’s what we needed to do.”
After this historic evening in which Ajax reached the UEFA Europa League’s quarterfinals after fourteen years, there was perhaps one point of improvement that the Bosz could call out: “We played great, and the fanatic crowd was behind us. It was an amazing night. We had many opportunities, we kept them far from our goal, but we should have scored more. Then, you’re much calmer as a coach.”
Not only as a coach. The tension in the stadium was palpable as well. Bosz: “The great thing is that, after the 2-0 goal, we continued to go for the third. A bit too much, at times, and then Viergever and Sánchez remained up front after a corner. But they were so enthusiastic, I couldn’t get them back.”
Speaking of enthusiasm, seventeen year-old Matthijs de Ligt was outstanding in holding Ajax’s ground at the back. Bosz explained his choice for the teenager: “I chose him because Copenhagen has bit centre forwards. Matthijs covers his opponent very well, he’s good at headers, and is strong in holding his position. When you look at how he holds his ground, it’s amazing. I’m not a national coach, but if I were, I’d definitely give him a chance.”