Erik ten Hag and Matthijs de Ligt appeared before the press on Tuesday afternoon to look ahead to the KNVB Cup semi-finals against Feyenoord. The previous meeting between the teams was discussed, as well as changes at midfield and De Ligt’s upcoming anniversary.
The press conference started with a question about the painful 6-2 loss to Feyenoord in competition last month. Ten Hag: “The second half was really sub-par. So we analysed the weak points, but I haven’t forgotten the first half. We started off pretty well.”
The selection has chosen to travel to Rotterdam earlier in the day tomorrow. “The second half has to be different. We’re approaching this game as if it’s a European game and will stay in a hotel tomorrow, to bring the players into the right mindset.”
The coach spoke about the opponent. “They’re fickle, inconsistent. But they can play well, as they proved against PSV (1-1). We look at the opponent, but more at where we can hurt them. I’m not going into details, but it’s clear that Feyenoord is vulnerable in some areas.”
Options for midfield
Ajax started the game against ADO Den Haag with Donny van de Beek in Lasse Schöne’s spot. De Ligt explains the difference between these two players. “Schöne is more of a play-maker and Van de Beek is the runner. Each game requires a different player. In the end, the coach decides who is most appropriate to start.”
Ten Hag clarifies his choice for Van de Beek: “We have several options at our disposal. On Sunday, it was a conscious decision to put Van de Beek in that role. Donny was covered by El Khayati, who plays pretty far at the back. This way, he didn’t get to play his game properly.”
'I’m very proud to be able to play my 100th game'
100th duel for De Ligt
The game will be special for Matthijs de Ligt. “I read that this would be my 100th game. I’m very proud to be able to play in my 100th game for Ajax, if I start, of course”, said a smiling De Ligt.
The defender is clear about the goal for tomorrow. “We want to reach the Cup final. Last season, we didn’t make it past the round of sixteen. And it’s also the Classic, which we obviously want to win very much.”