Ok, so Ajax didn’t win it. Too bad. But Ajax won anyway. Is my view. Man United have been poor all season, despite massive signings. They won this trophy, sure, but usually Man United would be competing to win the CL! Mourinho has shown the world more of his bad side (placing finger in Barca assistant’s coach eye, calling Chelsea doctor “a whore” and this season several attempts to win an Oscar for Overacting).
They have the trophy, but young Ajax got the sympathy. The boys from Amsterdam tried, the men from Manchester did everything to stop them.
An ugly finals, physical strength and long balls by Manchester United, keeping 6 men behind the ball. It was always going to be tough if the Mancunians would score first, and they got their lucky goal when Pogba was offered too much space and a ricochet caused Onana to be without a chance.
Ajax didn’t start the second half too well with a corner conceded and an unlucky bounce, delivering Mhkataryan a chance to do something more than foul Veltman.
Ajax never looked to score. Too much through the middle, not decisive enough in the passing, too many nervous stray balls and obviously allowing Sanchez the ball to build up… Mourinho did it smartly, and Ajax simply wasn’t good enough.
And boy, is Mourinho getting drunk the coming days, coz not delivering CL football to the Red Devils would have been a tremendous upset and humiliation.
And Mourinho must have revelled in the fact that he could get a win over his much hated Ajax! You all saw his comments in the press about the Sons of Gods? Jose Mourinho was extra motivated to get one over Ajax, partly due to a deep historic scar. This article below appeared before the Europa League finals. I wasn’t able to bring you it earlier… Still a good read.
Lets go back to the spring of 1996. Barcelona chair Nunez was going to fire Johan Cruyff, after eight successful years. He was negotiating with Bobby Robson in a hotel suite in secret. In the room next door, a 33 year old young Portuguese chap was waiting. Robson said: “I need him at my side!”. Nunez: “No way. I will not pay for a translator.”
But the worldwise Brit didn’t give in. He needed the young man. Robson worked in Portugal as coach at Sporting and Porto and used Mourinho as his translator. Eventually, Nunez conceded but would not pay more than 10,000 pts per month for the upstart. Which is 60 euros. Per month. Robson and Mourinho agreed. Vice-chair Gaspart, who would make this anecdote public years later, offered the Portuguese translator a free room in one of his hotels, because “he was dirt poor.”
But Mourinho was more than a translator. Rufete, former Barca player: “We didn’t understand Robson. He was able to motivate us and inspire us with his expression, with his gestures. But if he spoke for half an hour, Moutinho would summarize it all in 2 minutes in Spanish.”
Laurent Blanc, Barca player in that season. “After a month, it was clear that Robson couldn’t reach the group. They were used to Cruyff, Robson was so different. So Robson let Mourinho do the tactical talks. He spoke Spanish. That is where his career started. He was clearly intelligent and he was clear in his messages.”
The Portugues was popular amongst the players and he smartly made pacts with the media. He was young, good looking and had humour. He was offered a raise and he was offered an apartment in Sitges. Not much later, new Barca coach Louis van Gaal would be his neighbour. Mourinho would work with Van Gaal and was a well respected part of the Barca backroom staff for years. When he took on Porto and Chelsea as head coach, he was convinced he would be appointed Barca head coach after Frank Rijkaard departed the Camp Nou.
But Barca’s board was divided. The one half felt the hard hand of Mourinho was needed, the other half wanted to move more towards the Barca way of working. Mourinho was told: “We will confer with Johan Cruyff about your appointment”. Cruyff was close with then chair Joan Laporte and Cruyff suggested Barca appointed youth coach Pep Guardiola.
Mourinho would never forget that. And he would never forgive Barca nor Cruyff. So when Real Madrid was looking for a coach to stand up to Barcelona’s reign and Guardiola’s successes, they smartly appointed Mourinho. And never before were the Clasicos so unfriendly, full volcanic eruptions and hotheaded playees as in the years under Mourinho, who preached aggression and hostility. This even spilled over into the Spain National Team!
Mourinho by then already had his revenge on Barca and Guardiola, by exiting them in the Champions League with Inter Milan. After the 3-1 loss in Milan, Barca could not destroy the defensive wall Inter put up in the Camp Nou. Catenaccio was given another dimension by Mourinho. But by doing so, he proved that Cruyff was right and the Barca board actually made the correct choice. With Mourinho, Cruyff’s legacy would have been trampled and the frivolous DNA of Barca destroyed.
Winning, is all that counts for Jose. Beauty is for the museum. He told his players at Inter, Chelsea and Real Madrid that ball possession was for naive puritans. He can’t deal with idealists, like Guardiola and Wenger. And he probably couldn’t deal with Peter Bosz either, who is probably the most Cruyffian coaches Holland has at the moment (sorry Koeman and De Boer!). Even worse, he doesn’t even know who Peter Bosz is he said last week at a press conference.
But of course he does! And he knows the Ajax game too. He has always been obsessed with the opponent. He would make thorough analysis of the opponents for Robson and Van Gaal. It is his strength. To find the weaknesses of the opponent and to destabilise them. Humiliate them. Which he usually does with Arsene Wenger. Dominating Guardiola is too hard for Mourinho though. Pep leads the confrontations 8-4 with seven draws.
So now Peter Bosz is his dog to kick. A nobody, Mourinho suggests. And to be condescending is Mourinho’s weapon of choice. “This is the most important game in the history of Man United,” he said before the return game vs Celta de Vigo. “Because United never won the Europa League.”
Ajax wants to win, wants to attack, score goals and dazzle. Mourinho will send his team onto the pitch with one big message: to prove Cruyff wrong. To tell the world his vision is outdated, naive and utopian. United will most likely have less than 45% possession in the game, but Mourinho doesn’t care. He wants to win. Always. But especially against Ajax, Bosz and Cruyff….
Jan what you said about Jose is true.He is a disgrace to football..A pure glory hunter,i just wished that he loose the final hence he gets terminated for the sake of my favorite club..How many players he developed so far??Nothing and How many players he spoiled so many youngsters…i dont like him at all..
By the by back to NT..
BMI,klassen,Depay,propper are in final 23.why this BMI is getting nod over and over again??..
It is disgusting to see certain players get sleceted.
About Ajax Vs Manu..
Ajax never looked like scoring,Dolberg was not visible…i think they were physically abused by strong Manu players..especially Schone,klassen,Younes sufferd that…
Advocate take a note of this as Schoe and younes doesnt play for NT..only klassen left,when your midfeild is light weight this what happens…Traore is like Promes..Cannt say bad or Good..i really hope we dont start our games with proper,klassen and strootman…
Don’t want to get too far off topic; and would like to comment about MU-Ajax when I have a little more time. But ran across this, and am wondering if anyone has seen him play/has comments. Perhaps the resident AZ expert?
at 18 he looks like quiet a talent.
Andrew i did heard about this guy.But i did furthur as i thouht just another hyped guy…But now i saw the link i am sure He has vision and Venom,he seems to be next big player..he has class..
@Wilson, Tiju. Thanks for the link, Wilson. Good stuff. Always so hard to know with a young guy; especially off of a video from one game. You have to see how he plays day in, day out; how he performs against better teams, especially when they begin to plan for him…but all that said, he looks like a rangy, athletic guy, who was always looking for others when he was on the ball, and that pass from the mifdfield, made me sit up…someone to keep an eye on to see how he develops.
Nicolaas here — I just wanted to check in with my friends at http://www.dutchsoccersite.org before the weekend. I have been in touch with Fred Grim and Frans Hoek repeatedly during this interim period prior to my joining the team. They know that I am the boss now and the decisions they make are based on my ideas (unless they are not executed correctly, in which case it’s their fault).
And so while I am disappointed to miss these upcoming friendlies against Morocco and the Ivory Coast, I’m hopeful to learn much from them.
By the way, do you know the literal translation of Grim and Hoek in Dutch? They mean “Ugly” and “Corner”, respectively.
Once I officially take the reins, you can be assured that we will have turned the corner on a very ugly period for Dutch football. Ha ha!
Disappointing by Ajax — still too much sideways passing, but at least they attempt to play football.
Jan, you are spot on about Mourinho. And where did you find that photo of him and Aloysius?! PRICELESS!!! If ever the downfall of Barcelona could be illustrated in a single snapshot, that would be it! If only you could photoshop Sandro Rosell in there too…
i think Mathis De ligt is cementing his place in NT..My sincere thanks to Fred grim for calling Ake..i am sure Ake will play for us.
Since karsdorp,konglo,Ginkel and Virgil injured
Final 23 should have been
I managed to find tickets (extremely pricey) and attend the final. I’ve been waiting 21 years to see this so there was no chance i was gonna miss it. Amazing experience to see Ajax for the first time in the final…..too bad we didn’t win it but thats football. As for the game one team came to play the game and the other one to ruin it. Its awful to see a team who has 4 times the budget of Ajax play like that. Anyways i’m proud of what Ajax achieved this year, hopefully we could keep most of our player and the best is yet to come. In Peter Bosz we trust!! Hup Ajax hup
I thought so too my friend
Awesome man! Thanks for sharing…
I couldn’t help it!! I was so excited i had to tell everyone….
I got to watch a replay of the game and I agree with most of the comments on here MU really were a disappointment , all that money on the pitch and they are too scared to try and play some football. MU fans must be embarrassed by that performance, particularly against a bunch of kids from Amsterdam!
Ajax just did not have the end product in the final third of the pitch, credit to them for trying but conceding early was always going to be a death knell. Mourinho is the master of bus drivers and parks them better than anyone else.
Anyhow, well done Ajax!
Agree, Van Banger. In my view, MU essentially played 4-5-1; even their outside forwards (Mata and Mhik) stayed tucked inside of the Ajax wingers, and because of that Pogba, Herrera, and Fellaini were almost never stretched out of the middle. There was just no room. Whatever open space was left to Sanchez (not a playmaker) and the fb’s who are not great attackers…this was a game that Sinkgraven might have been useful in, or maybe at ht, after seeing the way MU played, they could have gone three at the back. But I’m just musing. I have no fault with Bosz—what a terrific job he did this year.
I do think Ajax’s youth caught up with them a little; that they were affected by the moment. Often, creative movement is the first thing that goes when a team feels pressure. Everyone looks to do their job, and this limits their imagination. There was that one little sequence in the first half when Traore went to the same side as Younes, and this caused trouble. There was too little of that sort of adventuring by Ajax throughout most of the match (only Traore seemed willing to do it).
Still, I concur with Van Banger, “well done Ajax”; a great cup run. But for an ill-advised throw-in and a deflection, who knows how the game would have unfolded. De Ligt particularly impressed me; hope he continues to develop. I would have liked to see Kluivert; he seems to have the bravado for that type of game. Already looking forward to next season.
@Andrew- you picked up on an interesting part of play , a lot of teams now are trying to overload one side of the pitch, they do it by having an overlapping fullback and either the 6 or 8 come across with the winger already there. If the opponents squeezes in then they can play back to the CB for a switch, usually the opponent then relaxes and heads towards the other side of the pitch, this is what you want to happen as an attacking team , the CB now fakes the switch and goes back to the same side for a quick forward attack.
Not saying Ajax did this exactly but it’s a play that can break down structured defence.
fiorentina have signed Jay Roy Grot after NEC Nijmegen were relegate from eredivisie. Given how it turned out for kevin DiKS, he will need to start if the blocks quickly with every opportunity he gets.speaking of kevin it is still not clear if he will return to fiorentina.
Some off topic great news!
Tom Dumoulin has won the Giro Di Italia, the first Dutchman to win a grand tour since 1980, that’s Amazing ! To really make to a Dutch day Jos Van Emden won the last stage , his first ever stage win, a great day for Dutch cycling!
Yes Babel u r very right..they should have called you in this good form and ability especially compared to PL flop Mempiss..its a disgusting that u got avoided,interestingly they are not doing great..
Ryan Babel is the attacking version of Bruno Martins Indi. He should never be considered for international duty.
If Depay and Janssen were playing in Turkey, they would most certainly outshine Babel in scoring output.
Stay on the helicopter Babel!
And before you post a line-up featuring all Babels and Akes, keep in mind that I am just now finishing managing Fenerbahçe, which faced Babel’s Beşiktaş three times in the last six months. Trust me when I say that Babel is not international quality at this point.
Calvin Stengs, of AZ. 18 year old and it was a public secret that the AZ management was unhappy with coach Van de Brom for not using him more. If there is one player he resembles it’s Iniesta.
He’s got the same fluidity in movement, always head up looking forward, great technical ability but the best thing about him: the through ball.
This kid is special!
But, we said the exact same thing about Adam Maher…. So fingers crossed with this one.
I don’t know whether it was the whole team or AZ simply switched off in the second leg.
either way the momentum was certainly on their side in the first with Stengs once again involved alot. was certainly not happy though when he was subbed off.
didnt realize Marc Wilmots took up Ivory coast coach job. named his squad for the firendly.
Ivory Coast squad:
Goalkeepers: Sylvain Gbohouo (TP Mazembe, DR Congo) Axel Kacou (Tours, France), Mandé Sayouba (Stabaek, Norway), Ali Badra Sangaré (AS Tanda, Ivory Coast), Abdoul Karim Cissé (SC Gagnoa, Ivory Coast)
Defenders: Serge Aurier (Paris St Germain, France), Mamadou Bagayoko (St Truiden, Belgium), Eric Bailly (Man Utd, England), Simon Deli (Slavia Prague, Czech Republic), Lamine Koné (Sunderland, England), Ismaël Traoré (Angers, France), Wilfried Kanon (ADO Hague, Netherlands), Adama Traoré (FC Bâsel, Switzerland), Joris Gnagnon (Rennes, France), Ghislain Konan (Guimaraes, Portugal)
Midfielders: Cheick Doukouré (Metz, France), Franck Kessié (Atalanta, Italy), Geoffroy Serey Dié (FC Basel, Switzerland), Jean-Philippe Gbamin (Mainz, Germany), Jean Michaël Séri (Nice, France)
Attackers: Nicolas Pépé (Angers, France), Maxwell Cornet (Lyon, France), Giovanni Sio (Rennes, France), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace, England), Jérémie Boga (Grenada/Spain), Salomon Kalou (Hertha Berlin, Germany), Seydou Doumbia (FC Bâsel, Switzerland)
Marc Wilmots is dumb stupid coach..with such a talented team they couldnt do anything internationally is puly down to stupid wilmots…Ivory coast can forget any kind of trophy..
Ik gun Wilmots het succes, omdat hij kwaliteiten heeft als bondscoach, maar ook omdat hij een prima gozer is.
That said, I do not want him to get his hands on Ake, so there was some strategy in his selection.
It seems like we like some of the same players but differ on others. I hope you will post more line-ups for my consideration 🙂
I am looking forward to tomorrow’s encounter at the Stade d’Agadir. Keep in mind, the last time we faced Morocco under my leadership (just a few years back in 1994) we easily took care of business. I expect a similar result tomorrow.
The weight of the world will be on the Atlas Lions’ shoulders as they stare into the dominating gaze of the true Dutch lions! See, I’m not only a lawyer but also a poet! Ha ha!
And do not fret – Hakim Ziyech has refused to play for Herve Renard, so the Moroccans’ quality is reduced even further.
Meanwhile, we are on the uptrend. I am particularly interested to see what Nathan Ake, Jurgen Locadia and Sergio Padt have to contribute.