Ten Hag: 'Push Feyenoord back by playing our own game’

Ten Hag: 'Push Feyenoord back by playing our own game’

Erik ten Hag is happy to have a compelling opponent after the hard-fought win against Benfica (1-0).  The Ajacieds don’t need anyone to tell them to be sharp for the Classic against Feyenoord.  “Otherwise you need to find the energy from within, and now the opponent is doing that too”, said Ten Hag at the press conference two days before visiting Ajax’s arch-rival.

Only 2 points – in Ajax’s advantage - separate the teams.  Ten Hag is counting on a difficult game.  “Ajax and Feyenoord are rivals.  I’m expecting a game between rivals, with a lot of passion and battle.  These are often the toughest games.”

“We need to be wary of becoming too confident, as this can be a double-edged sword”

According to Ten Hag, both teams will have their chests puffed at kick off.  “Feyenoord has a good selection, and is doing well.  They’ll have confidence, but so do we.  We just need to be wary of becoming too confident, as this can be a double-edged sword.  We want to play our own game, from our own strength, and push Feyenoord back this way.”

13 clean sheets

 Ajax has been playing beautiful attacking football this season, but the team can also rely on a solid defense.  In all competitions combined, the team has kept 13 clean sheets, which obviously pleases Ten Hag.  “I want to emphasize that that this isn’t just the result of the keepers and the defenders’ work.  The entire team is conscious of this.  Everyone has been carrying out their tasks in a very disciplined way, which is excellent.”

Ten Hag went on to pay an compliment to Andre Onana individually, after being asked what the Cameroonian’s contribution was to all of this.  “One thing is for sure, and that is that we have a good keeper.  He is an athletic keeper who can distinguish himself in all facets of the job, at critical moments.  Should anything slip through, then Onana is always there and the ball is far from in.  This gives confidence to the players on the field.”

This is Ten Hag’s second Classic.  He made his debut as Ajax’s coach at the end of January, in the game against Feyenoord.  This was also  a home game.  Ten Hag says that, since then, a few things have changed, mostly for the good.  Their playing, for example, and a few new players came in the summer.  Currently, we’re playing European football, and back then we weren’t.  There is a lot of positive energy right now around Ajax.”

It’s a compliment for Ten Hag, but he is vigilant of becoming too euphoric.  “We need to be careful that we don’t become too comfortable.  We need to prove ourselves in each game, especially when playing against our rival.”