De Boer wants Ajax to play from the heart

De Boer wants Ajax to play from the heart

Frank de Boer wants to see a fighting Ajax on Saturday at Heracles. The coach found his team sorely lacking in last week’s draw at FC Utrecht (1-1). “I’ve been hammering it in with the guys all week that they need to play more from the heart, that’s where it starts. I think they’ve gotten the message.”

De Boer gave an example of how he felt the team had been lacking against Utrecht. “I missed the holy fire that drives you to bring a 1-0 lead home. Van de Maarel had four opportunities to set up for a pass. That teamwork to score a goal has to be in place.”

On Friday, De Boer also emphasized the importance of good teamwork with the youth academy. “The first team is the most important, they need to perform. But as a member of staff, I’m definitely thinking about the Toekomst. A lot of money and energy is invested there and we know that the youth academy is Ajax’s life line.”

According to De Boer, there are several talents who are on the radar for Ajax 1, but he wants to take it slowly. “Donny van de Beek, Abdelhak Nouri, Vaclav Cerny and Mauro Savastano, and many more”, summarizes the coach. “Of course they can play with the first team, but based on what is needed. If you’re counting on twenty games per season, or on two which are a bonus – everyone is looking at the first team, and we need to perform well.”

The current selection is very young. This is a very different that during De Boer’s own time as a player with Ajax. “Back then, we had a core of fifteen guys who were all 25, 26 years old, four young guys and two very experienced players like Blind and Rijkaard. That was a completely different mix than now. You can’t expect a 21 year-old player to teach Van de Beek or Nouri. He’s still too busy with his own development.”

De Boer confirmed that he told Mike van der Hoorn that he should stay at Ajax. “Mike has been important for Ajax, so we don’t want to lose him. We need two people for each position. We think that Mike can give Veltman a hard time. If not, he would be a very good alternative for Joël.”