Bosz vows Ajax will come back stronger next season

New Straits Times - - Sport -

STOCK­HOLM: Ajax Am­s­ter­dam coach Peter Bosz was dis­ap­pointed by his team’s per­for­mance in their 2-0 de­feat by Manch­ester United in Wed­nes­day’s Europa League fi­nal, but vowed to learn from United’s phys­i­cal dis­play and come back stronger.

Jose Mour­inho’s more ex­pe­ri­enced side over­pow­ered Ajax across the 90 min­utes, con­ced­ing pos­ses­sion but deny­ing their op­po­nents the space they needed to play their pass­ing game.

“Ob­vi­ously I’m dis­ap­pointed, be­cause you play fi­nals to win them,” Bosz told a news con­fer­ence at the Friends Arena.

“We didn’t, and I haven’t seen the Ajax that I’m used to, which means play­ing good foot­ball, high press­ing and be­ing dom­i­nant.”

Ajax went be­hind to a de­flected Paul Pogba shot in the 18th minute af­ter los­ing the ball from their own throw-in.

It was an up­hill bat­tle af­ter that, made harder when Hen­rikh Mkhi­taryan scored United’s sec­ond three min­utes af­ter the break.

“If you come 1-0 be­hind against such an, in de­fence, well-or­gan­ised team, it’s go­ing to be dif­fi­cult, es­pe­cially the sec­ond half,” the 53-year-old Bosz said.

Ajax had no an­swer to the phys­i­cal strength and power of United, es­pe­cially in mid­field, where world record sign­ing Pogba and Bel­gian in­ter­na­tional Marouane Fel­laini dom­i­nated.

“I think there’s a big dif­fer­ence in the phys­i­cal way they (United) play, but its not a mat­ter of strength — it’s how you use your body, which we have to learn,” Bosz said.

“For all the play­ers, this is the first fi­nal. For win­ning fi­nals, you first have to play fi­nals and learn from it. All the play­ers who played to­day learned a lot, and this is one as­pect of the game where they were bet­ter than we were.

“They will learn a lot from it and we will be­come stronger, and if we can keep this squad to­gether we will be stronger next season, for sure,” he added.

With the game played in the shadow of Mon­day’s bomb at­tack at a pop concert in Manch­ester, which left 22 dead and 64 in­jured, Bosz said his play­ers were in­flu­enced by that event.

“We talked about it, and in the me­dia there was a lot go­ing on, so ob­vi­ously both sides were af­fected. But once you play that fi­nal, I think you will, for that mo­ment, for­get it.” Reuters

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