Frank de Boer was pleased with the result against FK Jablonec in the first play-off match for participation in the UEFA Europa League group phase. The Ajax coach, however, also focused on what could have been done better after this 1-0 win.
“We knew that Jablonec would play a compact game. In that case, you need to have a fast pace with the ball, pass it quickly from left to right. You need to play a more opportunistic game than we did today”, said Frank de Boer critically about the home game against FK Jablonec. This lack of opportunism didn’t sit well with the coach. “It’s hard to make a match of it against an opponent like this. And that’s exactly when you need to be opportunistic.”
Jablonec had only one true forward in its ranks, Tomás Wágner. “He went back and forth between his central defenders and the attack”, saw De Boer. The Ajacied also immediately saw the consequence of this defensive tactic: it was very difficult for Ajax to break through the Czech defensive wall. The home team’s pace was too low at times as well. De Boer: “In the end, we got that kind of match. We need to realize what is needed against a team like Jablonec.”
But the end result makes up for a lot. With an eye on the return next week at Jablonec, the Ajacieds seem to have the advantage on paper. The EL group phase is calling. Some of this is in the Amsterdam team’s hands. “In the end, tonight’s result enables us to go further. That’s the most important thing. Winning 1-0 is fine. The clean sheet is, of course, very important. I don’t think it’s a dangerous result for the return. Ajax simply must defeat this opponent. If we score this week, they’ll need to score three goals. I hope there will be more spaces then, too, so we can create more danger. We can definitely be more opportunistic. We can improve on that.”