De Boer: ‘A chance to avenge ourselves on Sunday’

De Boer: ‘A chance to avenge ourselves on Sunday’

After Friday’s training, Frank de Boer spoke to the press about this Sunday’s upcoming duel against Heracles Almelo, when Ajax can potentially secure its 33rd national title. Of course the coach looked back on the KNVB Cup finals loss. “Everyone had a bad taste in their mouth.”

On Sunday, the current national champion suffered a big loss against PEC Zwolle. 5-1; a loss that hurt. De Boer: “Everyone had a bad taste in their mouth after that one. A feeling of shame. In the days afterwards, I received many questions about that. You want to tuck it away, but you can’t. That feeling – that you never want to go through something like that again – is what we need to take with us on Sunday. That has to give us so much energy to truly set things right after that loss. And we can’t turn it back, either. The only thing we can do now is focus as best we can on Heracles.”

De Boer spoke to his selection upon their return to the ArenA. His players then received two days off to think hard and reflect. The head coach was at de Toekomst on Monday. “I saw the U17 team win the Future Cup finals. And right after that, the Ajax Reserves posted a great win. So that cheered me up.”

There’s enough reasons to not fall into despair. On Sunday, Ajax has the chance to win its fourth national title in a row, a unique opportunity in club history. Frank de Boer can also become the first trainer to win four straight titles. One point at Heracles will be enough. De Boer: “Of course it’s a black mark that we didn’t win the cup final. Especially when you’re so close. On the other hand: the championship is, by far, the most important. On Sunday we need to get a point, or better yet, three. If that happens, we hope to celebrate the championship with as many fans as possible.”

Is Heracles in any position to pull off an upset like PEC Zwolle did? If Ajax has the right attitude on the field, the answer is no, says De Boer. “Mentality trumps quality if quality doesn’t have any mentality. On Sunday we weren’t alert enough. We were going backwards when we should have been putting pressure forward. We can only blame ourselves for that. If we’re alert, then we won’t get those goals against.”

On Sunday, Heracles will have to do without several squad players due to injury and suspensions. De Boer: “We’ve analyzed Heracles. The replacements are fully fledged Eredivisie players. Moreover, for new players, it’s the chance to show what you can do.” De Boer will not be able to use Niklas Moisander on Sunday (not fit). Also, as he stated in the press conference, he’s considering playing Christian Poulsen. But we won’t see a completely different team in Almelo. “Many players will have the chance to avenge themselves for Sunday.”