Ajax coach Erik ten Hag has confidence in a good result for his team on Thursday in the first match visiting Getafe in the second round of the Europa League. He does think that the people of Amsterdam must be in top form for that.
"But that is a bummer, that applies to all European duels. The players know what is being asked of them. They have been able to put a lot of luggage in their bag in the last six months. I am really looking forward to it," Ten Hag said Wednesday at the press conference.
Getafe is the surprise of this season in La Liga. The team of coach José Bordalás is third behind Real Madrid and FC Barcelona and is known for the sometimes physically hard game (this season 77 cards were already taken in the league).
"I demand cleverness from my players. When do you have to play the long ball and when should you try to play football under the pressure of Getafe? They press very high and that is not nearly every Ajax opponent," says Ten Hag.
"Getafe has several good players who definitely have the level to be able to play at Ajax. For example Marc Cucurella, who constantly poses danger on the left. We have to watch that, but we know everything about Getafe."
Hakim Ziyech during the match of Ajax against RKC Waalwijk. (Photo: Pro Shots)
Ten Hag does not want to say anything about setup
As usual, Ten Hag did not want to say anything about the set-up on his press talks, and therefore not whether Daley Blind and Hakim Ziyech can start. Both have just recovered from heart problems and a calf injury respectively.
"Daley and Hakim are making great strides. They have been able to play 45 minutes against RKC (3-0 win) on Sunday and also train very well this week. They are getting stronger, but you will see if they can play 90 minutes or that they are at the kick-off. "
"There is progress in our game anyway because players are coming back. If this road continues, we must be in top shape again towards the spring. You must now be in the right position to win prizes, the Europa League being one of them. "
Ajax still has to do without a number of basic customers on Thursday. André Onana is suspended (he is replaced by Bruno Varela) and Quincy Promes, Joël Veltman and Noussair Mazraoui are injured.
The first match between Getafe and Ajax starts on Thursday at 6.55 pm in the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez and is led by French referee Ruddy Buquet. The return is next Thursday at 9 p.m. at the Johan Cruijff ArenA.
View the program and the results in the Europa League