Erik ten Hag was very clear during the press conference leading up the FC Groningen – Ajax. All great memories of the game at Juventus need to be put on the backburner by the Ajacieds. “We’re living in the present, and our focus now is on the Eredivisie. A game in Groningen is a tough assignment, but it will be up to us how difficult it will be. You need to be mentally prepared to go to battle in each game.”
Of course, three days after the sensational win in Turin, the game was briefly discussed. Ten Hag couldn’t avoid it, although the coach wished to focus on the upcoming Groningen game. But Ten Hag was also proud and he said: “You start playing football to enjoy the game. When you get tested at the highest level and pass with flying colors, it’s euphoric. That’s the most beautiful thing there is.”
The question followed about how Ten Hag enjoyed the celebration afterwards. “You enjoy the happiness intensely, by observing the verbal and non-verbal communication between the players.”
And now, the meetings with Tottenham Hotspur await. What does Ten Hag think of the upcoming games against the English team? “Reaching the Champions League semi-finals is amazing, regardless. This is an amazing showcase. The Spurs are a challenging and great opponent.”
'Players are experiencing success'
The aim for Saturday’s game against FC Groningen is clear: win three points. “We need to continue winning games”, says Ten Hag, who can count on a fit group of players for this game. “No, I don’t think that the players are tired right now. First of all, they’re physically fit. Next to that, they’re experiencing success. That gives you energy.”