Frank de Boer is enjoying having reached the UEFA Europa League round of sixteen. After the 0-3 win at Legia (2 goals by Arek Milik) Ajax will go into the draw for the last sixteen teams. A successful continuation in the Europa League can add shine to this season, although the competition will still be number one for Frank de Boer in the next few months.
Securing second place at least in the Eredivisie is the top priority. Of course De Boer was surprised that the return match was so simple for Ajax. “I hadn’t expected that beforehand. Like I said yesterday, I wanted us to score a goal. In that case, Legia would have had to score three. The fact that we scored three ourselves before the break is fantastic. We played well and were threatening for one hour. Moreover, we defeated a good team. They can play well and they showed it in Amsterdam last week.”
For the first time since 2011, Ajax is among the last sixteen teams in the Europa League. How high has De Boer set his sights? “We first need to secure qualification for the UEFA Champions League early rounds. That’s why this top match against PSV is so important for us. In addition to that, we’re going to try to give the season some shine by performing well in the Europa League. It will be a challenge for us, because all the remaining teams are good, but let’s first see what the draw brings and enjoy this moment. After that, our focus will shift to PSV.”
De Boer had heard the thousand Legia fans who were outside the stadium. “It’s amazing that they took the trouble to stand next to the stadium to cheer on their team. And I think it’s even more amazing that they were still singing when the score was 0-3. That shows how committed they are to supporting their team.”
The Polish reporters were curious as to whether they would see De Boer again three months from now in Warsaw. On May 27, the finals will take place in the National Stadium, about 10 kilometers down the road from the Legia stadium. “Of course I’m hoping to come back, but first let’s focus on the next opponent.”