A super performance from the squad in the 2nd half of the season saw us lose just 1 game from our last 17 that made us Champions winning 12 and drawing 4 in the run. We ended the season 6 points ahead of PSV Eindoven securing the title and Champions League qualification. The squad deserved the title for the way they played over the season as a whole. Akra Milik scored 41 goals in all competitions over the season from the False 9 position were he flourished. We played the first half of the season tweaking our 3-3-3-1 system but after seeing @Rovazzz Bayern Munich side play with 2 Regista’s in their 2-3-3-2 system it was time to further tweak our system. (More on this below). Stand out results for us was the 4-1 victory against Feyenoord in the Arena and a 4-0 win at 4th place SC Heerenveen. The board are pleased with our performance and I am pretty sure they will want us to retain the title next season.
Results January-May 2016
We completed a domestic double by beating FC Utrecht 2-0 after extra time in a final that both teams can be proud of. Utrecht soaked up everything we threw at them until both substitutes Schone and Zivkovic netted in extra time against a Utrecht defence who were out on their feet. Incredibly we went through the whole tournament without conceding a goal.
Dutch Cup Results
Below is a screenshot of our squads statistics from the season, no fewer than 19 players got on the scoresheet from 22 with only our keepers Cillessen and De Boer plus wing back Kenny Tete failing to find the net as we played our brand of total football.
Team Building At the start of my reign at Ajax I wanted to adopt the Cruyff Philosophy of developing players from our other squads and introducing them to the first team. This season saw 19 year old Donny Van de Beek become a first team regular playing in the Regista role. Donny dislodged Lasse Schone and Thulani Serero from our midfield. Van de Beek’s progress as been fantastic this season which as seen his value rise up to £6m in the last half the season. I am extremely pleased with the introduction of him to the first team. Another 19 year old Abdelhak Nouri has come in to our first team and looked quality playing in the Advanced Central Midfield position chipping in with both assists and goals. I am pleased to say that both Van de Beek and Nouri have both signed new deals with us. Team building will play a big part in my time in Amsterdam as we continue to work on the foundations lay down at the club by both Rinus Michels and Johan Cruyff.
Donny Van de Beek
The board have offered me a new contract which I have signed, the new deal gives me 3 more years at the club.
The Cruyff Philosophy Evolves
We started the season with the 3-3-3-1 formation, which I have tweaked in to 2-4-3-1. I have put our 2 Wing backs on a support role and pushed one of our 3 centre back positions in to midfield were we know play with 2 Regista’s. I got the idea from @Rovazzz who had deployed the double Regista roles in his formation. I have to say it’s working really well for us both offensively and defencively. The 2 Regista’s are aggressively closing down high up the pitch and winning possession back quickly for us. The roles in the rest of the side are the same as the 3-3-3-1. We now have 2 formations that we can tweak here and there to suit our game plan. We have options now in a couple of games I have pushed the wing backs up and dropped one of our midfielders between the Regista’s in a Defensive Midfield role to give us a 2-3-4-1 shape with the wing backs being replaced by Wingers. Hopefully we will continue to evolve over the next few months.
The Ajax 2-4-3-1
The Season Ahead
The squad are on a well deserved break, whilst I and our backroom staff prepare for the season ahead. We have a few players coming back from loan spells, plus we have just had a youth intake so I will be casting my eye over the squads over the next few days. I think we will be releasing or transferring a few players who will struggle to either make our first team squad or who we won’t be investing anymore time on the training ground. We are looking and 100% behind youth development but will use the transfer window to bring in anybody who we think would improve the squad. Our second season will be interesting and we will be looking for a better showing in Europe. So back to it for me as I plan for the forthcoming season of The Cruyff Philosophy.