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Ten Hag: 'Be focused, or pay'

Ten Hag: 'Be focused, or pay'

Ajax will play its next Eredivisie game on Friday at PEC Zwolle.  After a 4-0 win against Feyenoord, Ajax’s goal is to be fully focused at kick-off once again.  “We need to be professional and focused, otherwise we’ll pay the price.  We know what we need to do.”

As Ajax plays its Eredivisie game on Friday night, the usual press conference was scheduled a day early.  Ten Hag expects to travel to Zwolle with a fit selection.  “We don’t have any injuries, only a few players with minor complaints.  I’m assuming that everyone will be available tomorrow.”

Nothing has been decided
Despite the team’s convincing win against Feyenoord, the focus shifted quickly to the upcoming game.   “We enjoyed the game for 24 hours afterwards, but there is still a lot of season to go.  We want and need to get even better.”  Is the competition a done deal, now that Ajax has a six point lead against the other contenders?  “No way, no competition is ever decided in November.  The Eredivisie won’t be decided until April or May.”

The much talked-about substitution of Hakim Ziyech during the Classic isn’t an issue, assured Ten Hag.  “It’s a normal part of Ajax’s development that there's a lot of internal competition between players.  We have more than 11 starting players, and Hakim understands that.  He’s always one of the first ones I write down on thegame sheet.”  According to Ten Hag, there are many players who deserve playing time.  “When possible, the youth players get a chance.  But Siem de Jong and Klaas Jan Huntelaar also need to play, we’re going to need them this season.”

‘He played with the Ajax Reserves last year.  He made his debut in the Johan Cruijff Shield, and now he’s playing in the Champions League and he’s an international.’

Finally, Ten Hag discussed Sergiño Dest’s decision to play for the United States.  “I’ve spoken to Sergiño many times.  Of course I have a preference, I only held up a mirror to him.  I outlined the advantages and disadvantages of each option for him, but he needed to make the decision for himself.”

Ten Hag emphasizes that the young wing defender’s has developed rapidly.  “Last year, he was playing with the Ajax Reserves.  He made his debut in the Johan Cruijff Shield, and now he’s playing in the Champions League and he’s an international.”

According to Ten Hag, there’s no question of taking it easy against PEC Zwolle during the match, which takes place on artificial turf.  “It’s our duty to continuously challenge ourselves.  No matter what the circumstances.”