Sitting on the beautiful terrace of De Bloemenbeek hotel, coach Erik ten Hag held his first press conference of the season. The typical topics were raised, such as the uncertainty around the departure of certain key players.
'No drama, but tricky to deal with'
“We are working on several scenarios and we know that some players will be leaving”, was Ten Hag’s calm reaction. “But we also know that a big core will stay. It’s not a drama, but it’s tricky to deal with. We are prepared and we’re waiting to see how the transfer market develops. We’ll definitely be fighting for every player in our selection, and hope to keep the players who are attractive on the transfer market. If we can’t do that, then we need to make sure to have adequate replacements.”
Ten Hag did discuss certain players specifically, such as Carel Eiting.
Another tricky element is that players are trickling back in due to interland commitments. “This adds complexity to the pre-season. The players who are now participating in final tournaments have already taken their holidays. We’ll see how it goes when they come back. It’s possible that they will remain out of the selection and be able to enjoy some holidays. Our pre-season will be over once we play for the Johan Cruijff Shield.”
“What we achieved last year was quite unique. Last year’s pre-season was simpler than this one. It remains complex and we need to play defining games early on. Our first goal in August is to get back into European play.”