“ I finish the rest of the season, as it stands now. That is beyond dispute. I am experienced enough and know what is asked of me. I dont get to know it very quickly”, says Ajax goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg after the cup victory on PSV.
The 38-year-old goalkeeper was told at the end of last week that first goalkeeper André Onaa is not allowed to play football for a year because of a doping suspension.
Ajax was much better for rest and led with 2-0. “I think they had one chance”, looked Stekelenburg back. “In the second half they got better. The ball can always fall wrong once, especially when they start playing opportunistic. One thing mattered, we wanted to win: thats what we did.”
Trainer Erik ten Hag enjoyed the performance of Ajax. “”, he said. “The execution was perfect. It was enjoying. We have put PSV into big problems, including with great goals.”
“ It took until the final stage of the first half until PSV got a share in the competition,” continued Ten Hag. “We should have made the 3-0 just before rest, with Haller and Klaassen. After rest PSV took a little more risk and we did it less. We could have played it better then. So there is room for improvement.”
“ But I enjoyed Ajax”, suggested Ten Hag. “The gogme of Klaassen and Blind on the midfield. Hallers two goals. Im glad he was allowed to join us now. We did give a mental slap to PSV. Especially with the way we won. They will learn from this again.”
Ten Hag had a good feeling for the duel with PSV, although it was a question of how Ajax would recover from a series of disappointments. “I tasted that they wanted to make things right. They did well.”
Trainer Roger Schmidt could not immediately answer the question why his PSV was hardly used in the first half. “But it is my responsibility,” he said. “I hate it very much.”
“ Too many players of mine were not in top shape”, Schmidt went looking for causes. “Then you cant do a good team performance either. We have a young crew. In big games like this one shows that guys like Tadic, Klaassen and Blind have a lot of experience. But we were very weak for the first 35 minutes.”
“ Ajax has a good team,” said Schmidt. “But if we do not go along in their struggle, it will be very difficult. In the second half, we did better. Then we tried to turn everything around. But we did not succeed, while we played a lot better.”
Trainer Schmidt does not feel any extra pressure on his shoulders after the switch-off in the KNVB cup and the backlog of 7 loss points at Ajax in the Eredivisie. “Ajax has a good team. Were still in the Eredivisie, and in the cup were taken out by them in an away match. That can happen.”