Despite a difficult start to the season, FC Twente remains a team to be taken seriously. Frank de Boer discussed this on the eve of the away game at the Grolsch Veste in his weekly press conference. “If you just look empirically at the material, Twente has a good selection. They will get points, but we need to make sure that their turning point doesn’t happen against us.”
The interland period came at an inconvenient time for Ajax and De Boer. “We had a good momentum going. Ideally, we would have continued in the same flow. Now, we need to try and recapture that rhythm. On the other hand, they guys probably haven’t forgotten than much in just two weeks’ time.”
De Boer received several disappointed Dutch internationals back from their games. The Dutch national team’s performance was sub-par with two losses, and now participation in the European Championships is a longshot. The Dutch internationals returned to Amsterdam with mixed feelings, said De Boer.
“Someone like Jasper Cillessen, a steady pillar, came back feeling differently than Jairo Riedewald. Jairo can be proud of his debut, and can look back on a reasonable game. Keeper coach Carlo L’Ami has tried to clear Jasper’s head. Knowing Jasper, he’ll be able to deal with it properly.” Cillessen made a mistake by the Turkish team’s 2-0 goal.
Glad to be back
De Boer: “You can’t say much about Kenny Tete. He was able to train well and experience a lot”, said the coach about the right back who didn’t see any action on his first round with the Dutch national team. “And Davy Klaassen was happy to be on the squad. The guys are glad to be back at Ajax. Things are going better for us than they are for the Dutch team.”
Just like any Dutch football lover, De Boer was gutted at the results. “I’m shocked and disappointed. The Dutch national team belongs in the European Championships. It would be such a shame if this generation doesn’t play in any big tournament. That’s bad for Dutch football and bad for the players’ development.”
Ajax will have to go without Mitchell Dijks against FC Twente. The player will remain on the sidelines as a precaution. De Boer thus needs to move players around in his squad. “I’m looking for the best team. It’s possible that Jairo will play left back, but maybe it will be Viergever. Both can easily play both at centre back and left back.”
It is known that Viergever prefers to play at central defense. “But so does Jairo”, says De Boer. “It Jairo could choose, he would probably place himself as the left central defender. The same goes for Nick, and for Daley Sinkgraven too, for that matter. If Daley could choose between left wing and midfield, he’d choose midfield. He feels better there. But if you’re a good player, you make each position your own.”
Ajax has not suffered a single goal against in the last four games, and has won the maximum twelve points. De Boer hopes to continue in the same way in Enschede. “We always need to look to ourselves. We have a good selection and don’t need to fear anyone. We need to make sure that the basics are always good. And that, in addition to our creativity, we can always fall back on previous agreements.” At Twente, René Hake will be on the bench for the first time, replacing the dismissed Alfred Schreuder.
De Boer also had some closing comments about Yaya Sanogo, the loaned out player from Arsenal. “He’s slowly getting more comfortable. He knows he needs to do better. But I can’t complain about his willingness. Yaya can bring something extra. He has the height and can be a good target man.”