The day after the CL draw, Erik ten Hags focus was back on the Eredivisie. At the press conference, Ajax’s trainer discussed international Frenkie de Jong, the injuries in his team, the Vitesse away: “We’ll need to be full-on on Sunday.”
“Thanks”, was Ten Hag’s reaction when he received congratulations on the draw. “These are compelling opponents with potential. We’re also pleased with the schedule. The first game is critical. It’s nice that we can start at home against AEK Athens.”
'Compliments to Ajax’s youth academy'
The press conference began positively, and continued in the same vein when Frenkie de Jong’s selection for the Dutch national team came up. “It’s fantastic, but it’s not a surprise. The national coach has been charmed and Frenkie has placed himself in the right position. Several young Ajax players are in the Dutch team, and that’s a big compliment for Ajax’s youth academy.”
Ten Hag was asked about the injured Kasper Dolberg. “I’ve just received good news, that he’s made some progress”, said the coach, who added an important note.
“He still hasn’t participated in a team training and has been out for 8 months, so he first needs to regain his fitness and train well. You could draw the conclusion that the World Cup was too much for him. It’s such a disappointment that he’s become injured again, it’s not good for him or for us.”
The coach said the following about Daley Sinkgraven: “We need to be careful with Daley Sinkgraven. He has a very bad injury, and we can’t take any risks with it.”
'Vitesse always a difficult opponent'
The upcoming duel against Vitesse is on the agenda for this weekend. The coach predicts a tough game in Arnhem. “Vitesse is always a difficult opponent. Every club has an opponent that always gives it a tough time. For us, it’s Vitesse, ADO Den Haag and FC Utrecht. We’ll need to be at full speed ahead on Sunday.”
Still, he realized that his team is growing. “No match is ever easy, we saw that with Heracles Almelo. But we now have the confidence from the Champions League matches. We’re in good spirits.”