All of the compliments surrounding Ajax’s performance in Europe is music to Erik ten Hag’s ears, but his hunger has not yet been satisfied. The coach said as much during the press conference on the eve of Tottenham Hotspur – Ajax. Ten Hag is hoping to earn a spot in the UEFA Champions League finals with his team.
“Our aim is to continue this way. It’s fantastic that we’re in the semi-finals – nobody expected a Dutch team to achieve that – but we want more. That’s this team’s motto. We’re not satisfied. That leads to laziness.”
'Super fit and hungry'
It’s a comfort to Ten Hag that his team is in great shape. “In the past few games, we’ve proven to be super-fit and hungry.” This is not as much the case with the Spurs. The London-based team is not in the greatest form at the moment, and will have to do without key forwards Harry Kane (injured) and Heung-min Son (suspended).
Ten Hag was asked what the absence of these players could mean in terms of the relative power of each team. Is Ajax the favourite now? “The truth will always be told on the field. We will see tomorrow.”
“But we’re fit and can give our best performance” , continued Ten Hag. “We know that. If we can play our game at our level, I think we have a good shot.”
Luxury problem for Ten Hag
The reporter in question admitted afterwards that it was against his better judgement to ask, as the Ajax coach could not be lured into revealing which player would be at right back: Noussair Mazaroui or Joël Veltman.
He gave an update on Mazraoui’s physical fitness. The player has missed the last two games due to an injury. “He’s had good trainings in the past two days, and he looks good.”
And on his mostly fit group: “We now have a block with 5 finals. It’s good to know that our selection is fit.”