NO EXCUSES PLEASE
Ajax boss tells Jose not to use tiredness as reason if he loses Europa League final
AJAX manager Peter Bosz has warned Jose Mourinho not to use fatigue as an excuse if Manchester United fall short against his team in the Europa League.
The Dutch giants have shrugged off the disappointment of missing out on the Eredivisie title by focusing their attentions on their first European final since 1996 and Bosz is relishing the opportunity of leading his young squad out in Stockholm on Wednesday.
Their domestic season is over and Bosz has meticulously mapped out Ajax’s preparations.
He had a full squad of 24 training at their De Toemkost base on Thursday and they were to have double sessions the next two days before travelling to Sweden on Monday.
His laid-back attitude was a stark contrast to Mourinho, who is furious United must fulfil their final Premier League fixture against Crystal Palace tomorrow. That will be their 63rd game of the campaign but Bosz does not believe such a workload is overbearing. To this point, Ajax have played 55 times and Bosz does not believe that complaints about tiredness or schedules are credible ahead of a game of such magnitude. The difference, he believes, is the fact the pressure is firmly on United’s shoulders.
“We will play our 56th game next Wednesday and if you look at the age of the players we have, then it is a really young team who have also played a lot of games,” said Bosz. “We trained with 24 players today — that is the whole of my squad, no one was injured.
“So instead of looking at Manchester, I look at my team and the most important thing is we are fit and fresh, nobody is injured and that’s a great way to prepare team for next Wednesday. I never look at coaches from other teams.
“I’m looking at them and analysing where we can win something, win some details, but, on the other hand, I always look at my team, our strengths and how we can beat opponents. I believe it is not by looking at them, but by looking at ourselves.”
Mourinho has gambled on the Europa League providing a pathway back in the Champions League for United; having already won the League Cup, they are hot favourites to see off Ajax, who fielded the youngest side in Dutch history last weekend with an average age of 20 years and 139 days.
Their youth is something that many suspect will see them fall short in Stockholm but Bosz feels their youth is something that will lead to them securing the support of neutrals; he can’t be certain how they will react but he has total belief in the way Ajax play football.
“It’s true both teams are big clubs in Europe with a big history and it is true they have more experience and more money,” said Bosz. “But I believe we have fantastic players or we would not be in the final. I feel no pressure, just the pressure that everyone dreams of in these moments.
“It is true that they are young, but they learnt a lot. Next Wednesday will be our 19th European game this season. I hope they have learned from previous games and I am just looking forward. They have a bigger budget for sure and if because of the bigger budget they feel pressure then that is possible.
“We will try to do the same as we always do, we will try to play good football and we hope to win.” Daily Mail
We will play our 56th game next Wednesday and if you look at the age of the players we have, then it is a really young team who have also played a lot of games. PETER BOSZ Ajax manager
(From left) Hakim Ziyech, Jairo Riedewald and Bertrand Traore of Ajax Amsterdam at a training session on Thursday.