A beaming Erik ten Hag took a seat in the press room of the Johan Cruiff ArenA. The coach was very proud of his group of players: “They took big steps in terms of resilience and power and determination have made their way into the team again.”
Ten Hag had the floor and discussed the game at length: “For us, this afternoon ended up in the perfect scenario. We weren’t really thinking about what was happeningn in Alkmaar, because we were in charge. We needed to win and we had 90 minutes to do that. We won, and then we waited. AZ won, so now we’re really very close to the championship. The fact is that we’ll play for the championship on Wednesday. We’re looking forward to that.”
The question was how Ajax would process the blow of their elimination from the European tournament: “the game against Utrecht started in the same way as Wednesday’s ended”, said Ten Hag. “So you wait and see. But there’s a lot of character in this team. There was no question that we’d win this game. Utrecht had the drive to rain on our parade, but we didn’t let that happen.”
The coach is most proud of his team’s resilience. “We’ve really taken steps in that area. There’s power and determination in this team: we need that to win games and bring home prizes. You could see that today. On Wednesday, after an unbelievable blow, the players were already motivating each other. That blow has been converted into willpower.”
On Wednesday, the crown can be won for all of that hard work. Ajax will play at 19:30 in Doetinchem for its 34th title.