Ajax coach Erik ten Hag certainly plans to give some other players a chance on Wednesday evening in the away match against Besiktas in the Champions League. However, there is no question of a different approach to the fifth group match, he emphasized during his preview in Istanbul.
Ajax has already qualified for the eighth finals with four wins in a row, Besiktas, on the other hand, is virtually eliminated at European level with 0 points.
,,But the gas goes out with us,’ assured Ten Hag, who does not have access to midfielder Edson Álvarez (suspended). “We want to win and we have to win. The opponent fights for the last chance and is under pressure, because they have no points. In the football crazy culture that prevails in Turkey, it will be a difficult game for us. We will have to be top notch to get a result here.”
Ten Hag confirmed that in addition to replacing Álvarez, he will make some changes to his basic team that took office on Sunday in the successful away game against RKC Waalwijk (0-5). ,,We will certainly do that, but we want to win. During the previous times we gave other players a chance, we didn’t give it home and that annoyed me immensely. On Wednesday there will be another very good team on the field and they have to win. That pressure is definitely on this team.”
Ten Hag rejected the suggestion that a number of ‘reserves’ may show themselves in Istanbul on Wednesday. ,,No, no reserves, they are all basic players’, he parried. ,,The entire squad has to prove that we are strong together. We need to take that step now in order to be successful together this year. I am forced to change Álvarez and I also take into account some complaints that a number of guys have. We want to develop the team further and are therefore also looking to bring other players. Who has aches and pains? I don’t say that, because then I would reveal my line-up.”
Ajax officially still needs 1 point to secure the group victory. Ten Hag’s team won the home game against the Turkish champions in September with 2-0. The return in Istanbul starts on Wednesday evening at 6.45 pm.
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