Ajax watcher Mike Verweij says in the podcast of The Telegraph that the players of Ajax think that there is no arrow to draw on the policy of trainer Erik ten Hag. A few players had a starting place earlier this season, received praise from the trainer, but are now on the bench.
Earlier this week Ajax visited Atalanta Bergamo and despite the 0-2 lead, Ajax did not bring in any defensive strength to play Atalanta striker Duvan Zapata. “With a 0-2 score in Italy, also looking at how much difficulty Ajax had with Zapata, I think it would have been very wise to bring in Martínez”, says Verweij. “Then you would have had so much more balance and control.”
Verweij indicates that it is difficult to follow Ten Hag’s method. ‘Out of nowhere he brings Martínez against Liverpool because more is being asked defensively. That boy really did that properly, actually very well. But people wonder if he’s still sitting on that bench in Bergamo. Isn’t it really strange that you don’t need him when you are 0-2 ahead in the Champions League? ‘Verweij wonders.
Earlier this season, a few players – such as Edson Álvarez, Quincy Promes and Zakaria Labyad – had basic places at Ajax. They received praise, but have been sitting on the couch for weeks now. ‘The players themselves also think that it is not possible to raise the level’, says Verweij. ‘They don’t know at all where they stand. Edson Álvarez gained confidence at the start of the season and is now on the bench. Quincy Promes was undisputed, is now on the couch. ‘
Experienced players let Ajax down
Driessen believes that the experienced players should have stood up in the second half against Atalanta Bergamo. ‘They have an experienced player on every line. Tadić, Blind, Klaassen. They let the youth down. They are there to guide. If Gravenberch continues to move forward as a defensive midfielder, Klaassen has to say: “just stay here, we’ll stay compact”. Blind has to connect with the defense and coach more. These are all basic conditions that you can calmly set for such experienced players. I think they have let things down more than anyone else. ‘
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