Ten Hag prior to AEK game: 'We need to stay in this flow'

Ten Hag prior to AEK game: 'We need to stay in this flow'

On Monday evening in the AEK Athens stadium, Erik ten Hag and Frenkie de Jong looked ahead to the important Champions League match against their Greek opponent.  The stakes are high: “We want to win, so that we’re not dependent on what other teams do”, said the coach.

On Tuesday evening at 18:55, Ajax kicks off its fifth round of play in the Champions League group phase.  Kick-off for Bayern Munich against Benfica is two hours later.  “It would have been nice to start at the same time.  But that’s not the way it is, so we need to accept it.  Our approach is the same: we want to win, so that we’re not dependent on what other teams do.”

Go for the win
Ajax will have to do that without Hakim Ziyech and Nico Tagliafico: “But we have more than 11 starting players”, said Ten Hag once again.  “We’ll be sending a strong team onto the field.  We aim to win every single match, so we’ll be going for it tomorrow.”

“Of course you miss a creative player like Hakim Ziyech”, according to De Jong.  “That’s logical.  But we managed pretty well against NAC, winning 0-3.  If that’s what happens tomorrow, I’ll definitely sign up for that.”

Going well lately
Ajax has a good series of wins behind its name right now.  “We’ve been going well lately”, emphasizes De Jong.  “But there’s always room for improvement.  Because we’ve been winning all of our matches recently, you could say that we’re in a positive flow.  We bounced back well from the disappointing game at PSV.”

Successful season?
When asked if he thinks the season will have been a success if Ajax remains in the Champions League after the winter break, De Jong says: “That would be a good step, a good start.  But it’s not a success yet, you can’t say it’s a success while you’re still working on it.”

Ten Hag ended succinctly: “We need to remain in this flow.  That’s only possible if you want to improve yourself, if you seek new sources, and you expand your horizons.  We could potentially remain in the Champions League after the winter break;  that would be a new frontier.  That’s what we need to go for.”