Seemingly in a good mood, Erik ten Hag greets the press present on Friday. For the first time in six months, the Ajax trainer is in front of another press conference in the run-up to a premier league game. “It’s been a very long time, so we are looking forward to the start of the competition
His good mood will also have to do with the fact that he will be able to line up Daley Blind against Sparta in the first game on Sunday. “He’s doing well, he’s been training for over a week and is ready to play
The 30-year-old Blind went to ground a fortnight ago during a practice match with Hertha BSC without an opponent nearby after his defribillator had gone off. Tuesday it was announced that the international had resumed training.
Ten Hag says he was not worried about his defender. “We know what was going on, his ICD went off. He is safe. Daley is positive and confident, so we are looking at it with confidence”
There’s music in it’
His team is seen as the biggest candidate to conquer the scale this season, but Ten Hag is as vigilant as ever. “We have confidence in ourselves, but we know that the competition is also fierce. We won’t get anything as a gift”
In any case, the coach has nothing to complain about. Previous seasons he had to make his team ‘Europaproof’ straight away to reach the group stage of the Champions League. Now Ajax has been placed directly and Ten Hag can prepare his team in relative calm for the start of the season.
“It is true, we have a good run-up this way”, says Ten Hag. “We have made a good preparation. We are in the right direction with the formation of the team, with the way of playing football. There’s music in that.”
Ten Hag, however, has to cope this season without two key players from previous years. It is well known that Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea) and Donny van de Beek (Manchester United) decided to pursue their dreams in the Premier League.
At the end of the day
And there is a chance that Ajax will lose even more important forces, such as André Onana and Nicolás Tagliafico. “We are open to transfers if players develop well with us, that’s our role, the circle of life”, says Ten Hag.
“But we are also getting to a point where we have to think of ourselves. We want to be successful, then we cannot have players leaving at the eleventh hour”
Captain Dusan Tadic, who has a long-term contract in Amsterdam, underlines that. “Of course I don’t want them to leave at the last minute”, he says of his teammates who would be in the spotlight of the European summit.
“We talk a lot, but what I say is: Ajax is one of the best clubs in Europe. It’s a special club, so if players leave, it has to be for the absolute top”