“Have the best possible closing.”

“Have the best possible closing.”

Ajax plays its last game of the season against NEC on Saturday in the Amsterdam ArenA. There is nothing at stake for Ajax, just recovering from all of the festivities surrounding their 33rd championship win. Frank de Boer wants to see his team as motivated as possible at kick-off: “We want to play like champions.”

After Friday’s training, Frank de Boer did his pre-game conference leading up to the duel against the Nijmegen team. He isn’t afraid that his players won’t be motivated anymore now that the pressure to perform has eased. “There are so many ways to get motivated. We’re playing for around 50.000 people in a full stadium, on a fantastic field. And it’s also important for the players to close the season in the best, most fitting way possible.”

Ajax won its fourth championship in a row on Sunday. Tradition dictates that in matches where there is nothing at stake, the second keeper will play. De Boer will follow this tradition: “Kenneth is going to keep, indeed. For him, it may be an important match, looking to the future.”

With the closing match against NEC, another memorable season comes to an end. Considering the entire year, De Boer gives his selection a seven out of ten: “Many players had never played 34 matches in one season. Some had only played a few matches for Ajax 1 before, but became important this past year. That’s why I think it’s a great achievement that we won the championship.”
De Boer will have to do without several key players on Saturday: “Niklas Moisander won’t be there. He’s still having problems with his knee and was also sick for two days. Lerin Duarte had some neck pain during the training, so he won’t be playing. And we thought it was a good time to give Lasse Schöne a break so he could get his tonsils treated.”

Siem de Jong will be part of the selection for the first time since March 16. At that time, during a match with NAC Breda, he sustained a hamstring injury after only seven minutes. For De Jong, who has played an important role in all four championships, this will be a nice ending to the season. “Siem will start on the bench on Saturday, but he’s there and I am happy for him”, said De Boer. “All of the ingredients are there to make it a fantastic ending. I hope that we will enjoy a great match.”