Erik ten Hag is full of praise for Ajax‘s performance in the first half of the cup battle with PSV. However, the trainer of the Amsterdammers also points to the improvement points after the tight 2-1 victory in the Johan Cruijff Arena.
“I have been enjoying my team for the first half. That’s how you thought of it in advance. The performance is not always the way you think of it, but that was certainly the case in the first half,” says Ten Hag to ESPN. “It was really enjoying. That was great to see. We are on the right track and we must continue this, because the second half was of course a lot less.”
Ten Hag was especially satisfied with the pressure of Ajax. “They did not have a moment to breathe and did not come out under the pressure. It took them a long time to get close to our goal. Only in the final phase of the first half they had a few outbreaks, but otherwise it was only Ajax that struck the clock.” In the second half the Amsterdammers were a lot less likely and the pressure from PSV increased. Ten Hag thought that Ajax should have been more economical in possession of the ball. “In the final phase, only one ball has to fall well. Davy Klaassen kicked him off at the end before the line.”
BlindThe practitioner also points to the role of Daley Blind, who especially for rest made a strong impression on the midfield. “Yes, but he‘s best in the back. He also showed it on the midfield today, but at the end you see he hasn’t played for a while. Then he lacks the content for the dynamic game we want to play. In the midfield, we should have played more on ball possession, without me pointing directly to Daley. Then you clearly miss a player like Ryan Gravenberch.”
Ten Hag saw Ajax pull the victory over the line. “There is an intransigence in this team. If, in the second half, under the pressure of PSV, we calm down the ball and play the counters better, we are going to take real steps forward.