05 March 2023 at 23:11
Ajax coach John Heitinga cherishes the three points after Sunday’s 1-0 victory at home against NEC. He does think that his team should deliver more to entertain the public and become champions.
“It will have to be better to become champion”, Heitinga concluded afterwards in the Johan Cruijff ArenA in front of the NOS camera. “But at this stage of the competition it is especially important that we have won again.”
With the victory, Ajax narrowed the gap with leader Feyenoord, who won 1-0 against FC Groningen on Saturday, to three points again. “We keep the pressure on. But we have come a long way,” said Heitinga, who has won all his six Eredivisie matches with Ajax since his appointment. The national champion is recovering so nicely after a lousy first half of the season under Alfred Schreuder.
“I see confidence slowly returning to the team. As a result, we can now also win ugly matches, but the goal is ultimately to offer more entertainment.”
Standing at the top of the Eredivisie
Feyenoord 24-55 (+32)
Ajax 24-52 (+43) AZ 24-50 (+22)
PSV 24-49 (+33) FC Twente 24-41 (+18)
Mohammed Kudus scored the only goal of the match in the ArenA. Photo: Getty Images
‘Sometimes you have to be smart’
On the other hand, Heitinga is happy that Ajax had relatively few chances against NEC. In recent weeks, the people of Amsterdam have looked much more vulnerable in the transition.
“We often had a lot of possession in previous games, but then the opponent could suddenly hurt us. That was not the case now. My players were concentrated in the back, they defused NEC’s plan. That is why this is also a business victory Sometimes you have to be smart to get the points across the line.”
Ajax’s next match is against sc Heerenveen on Sunday at 2.30 pm, while competitor Feyenoord plays European during the week. The team from Rotterdam will take on Shakhtar Donetsk in the eighth finals of the Europa League in Poland on Thursday.
Eredivisie round 24
Friday: Vitesse-AZ 0-1 Friday: FC Utrecht-Fortuna 1-2 Saturday Volendam-Emmen 3-1 Saturday: Feyenoord-Groningen 1-0 Saturday: Twente-Heerenveen 3-3 Sunday: Excelsior-Sparta 1-4 Sunday: RKC-PSV 0-1 Sunday: Ajax-NEC 1-0 Sunday: Cambuur-Go Ahead 4-1
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