Pienaar: 'When I play badly I cannot sleep'

Supporters' interview with Steven Pienaar Steven Pienaar is the first Ajax-player who answered the supporters? questions for the second time. This time he mainly spoke about the Champions League, the competition for his position and the league.

Steven, you have played many different positions with Ajax. Which one is your favourite and who is your favourite player to play with?
Martijn Lemmers, Boven-Leeuwen

,,The number-10 position. I like it when it is crowded and that is often the case in the middle. I can play other positions, but then I have to adapt. I cannot mention anybody specific I want to play with. Really, it is the whole team, especially when we play well.’’

What do you think of the competition you have on your position and what did you think when Jari Litmanen returned?
Koen van Uffelen, Ridderkerk

,,Litmanen and Van der Vaart are my competitors. Litmanen is older and I look up to him. But I am glad he is back because I can learn from him. I saw him play once when I had just arrived in Holland. I really enjoyed that and it is a privilege to be able to learn from him. Van der Vaart is a very good player as well. So I have to work hard and train well every day. Maybe the coach can use me on a different position. I would not mind, as long as I get to play.’’

Hey mr Pienaar,
You have played in Ajax 1 for a few months. What is it like to play with Litmanen?

Erik Snaathorst, Papendrecht

,,It is a dream come true. Litmanen guides you and helps you on the pitch. When we go to training camp, he is my roommate, so we speak often.’’

Dear Steven, how do you see your role in Ajax in about three years? And which position do you want to play then?
Frank Verduijn

,,Only God knows. In three years I will have reached my peak so then I will have to be ready. But I don’t know what it will be like.’’

Hi Steven, like myself, you are not very big. How do you play against opponents who are bigger and stronger?
Greetz, Jaime, Goes

,,Bigger and stronger players are slower. I am quicker than they are. It is hard when they push you off the ball. The referee does not always see it. I have to use my quickness more and be smarter.’’

Hey Steven. How was it to be in the World Cup squad of South-Africa?
Tim van der Laan, Zaandam

,,I did not expect to be picked. But through pressure by reporters and supporters, who apparently like me, I was picked. It was a marvellous experience to be at a World Cup. When I was young I watched it on TV and now I was sitting at the pitch. It is every footballer’s dream. I was the youngest in the squad. The spirit was good, the players are always happy, even when it is not going well. That is what I like about the national team. Everybody is singing and having fun. The people of Korea are not used to seeing black people, so when we went passed they would stare at us. But they were very friendly and helped us if we asked for anything. I only hoped that I would play but unfortunately that did not happen.’’

Now that you have played against every opponent in your group in the Champions League: which team was the best?
Tom van Dijk, Amersfoort

,,Lyon is the best opponent. They play good, attacking football. They are much better than Inter. Inter play the Italian way, they defend and wait for a counter attack, it is quite boring. Rosenborg only play well at home. Away they are not nearly as good.’’

Hello Pienaar, how did it feel to play against Feyenoord? And what was the mood like after the match?
Marco Drost, Hulshorst

,,It felt very good. For the first ten minutes I was impressed by the supporters and the whole atmosphere. I really enjoyed the match. Despite the fact that I had to play as a right winger, I was happy with my performance. Everybody played well and executed the coach’s assignments. And we won, that is the most important thing. So the mood was great after the match.’’

Why did you not smile when you gave the pass from which Litmanen scored Ajax’s second goal?
Fred Roeling, Leidschendam

,,I was thanking the Almighty for the strength he gave me to do that. I was a moment to be thankful, that is why I did not smile.’’

Who will finish first, second and third in Holland this season?
Rick Verploegen

,,We are playing well, so we will definitely win the championship, PSV will be second and Feyenoord third as usual.’’

In the match against Internazionale suddenly everything went wrong. How did you feel during that short slump?
Hetty de Vries, Alphen aan den Rijn

,,I always feel bad if I have not played well. Then I cannot sleep at night, it keeps haunting me. The next day on training I am not able to fully concentrate yet. It takes me a couple of days to clear my head. Then I can focus on the next match. It is an awful feeling.’’

Hey Pienaar, what do you think about girls’ football?
Irene van den Hoek, Reeuwijk

,,In South-Africa they take it very seriously, it is good. My niece in South-Africa plays football and when I am there I always go and watch her play.’’

What is the difference between football in Holland and South-Africa?
Arnout Verduin, Heeze

,,There is more discipline in the Dutch football and the referees are stricter. In South-Africa the players play more for themselves and to entertain the fans. Here you have to play for the team and to win.’’

Who is the best footballer you have ever played with?
Bram Festen

,,I think Chivu. He is very complete, he can do it all.’’

Ons miss jou baie en soek jou in Bafana my broer. Het jy baie verbeter in vergelyking met verlede jaar en is daar offers wat deerkom van ander clubs?
Sharp gazzi!
Russel, SA Eldo’s

,,He says he misses me in Bafana and asks if I have had offers from foreign clubs. I have not, it is too early for that. The last bit is a greeting, but it is slang.’’