After Ajax’s stunning success in Madrid in the Champions League, Ajax will play a regular Eredivisie game on Sunday against Fortuna Sittard. It’s an important match, however, considering that Ajax can’t afford to lose any points in the race for the national championship.
“Now, we need to put away our thoughts around the Champions League”, said coach Erik ten Hag during Friday’s press conference leading up to the Fortuna Sittard game. “We need to focus on Sunday. I enjoyed it, that’s for sure. The greatest moment was when Andre came to me when the game was over. He was suddenly in front of me. Now, the next match is important. Honestly, I was already watching footage of Fortuna in the airplane back from Madrid.”
'Players should enjoy this'
The coach set the example for his players to enjoy their fantastic achievement for longer. “They needed to enjoy it as well, and they did. I saw that. When you can play that well on a stage like that, it can only be motivating.”
But this Friday, the switch to Eredivisie took place. Ten Hag: “We’re now faced with this challenge, and I am confident that we’ll do it. We’re in a position to win prizes. There are tough weeks ahead: we’re playing many games in a short period of time. It’s going to be difficult in the next little while, but we want that. So do the players. They’d rather be playing games than training. We are where we want to be, and now we’re going to play for titles. Our job will be to stay on track.”
Principle remains the same
The coach wouldn’t reveal whether the same 11 players would be at kick-off on Sunday: “I’ve said very often that we have more than 11 starting players. The principle of looking at what’s needed against each opponent and choosing the players accordingly remains the same.”