Welcome to Dortmund, I have arrived in Dortmund just days after winning the Champions League with Ajax along with two of my coaches from Ajax Dennis Bergkamp and Walter Ribonetto, we have arrived on the back of two fantastic seasons in Amsterdam were we won 8 trophies playing an attacking brand of football that took on the best in Europe and won 2 European titles starting with the Europa League in season one and then last year’s Champions League success. Whilst we played an attacking style of football we built the style on a solid defence which is what I plan to do here in Dortmund. My first analysis is that the youth development at the club in my opinion as declined a little in the 2 years that I was in the Netherlands and it is something I will address from the off. Looking at the first team squad we have a good mix of upcoming talent and seasoned professionals. I have promoted Alexander Isak from our Dortmund II Squad and opened contract talks with the young Swedish Forward who has been tagged has the next Ibrahimović (big boots to fill there then).
Welcome to my latest post at Ajax, no guessing what the highlight of the season as been (I think the title gives that away) on Sunday evening 20.00hrs UK time I sat in front of my computer screen to kick off the Champions League Final against Antonio Conte and his Chelsea side and approximately 90 minutes later I was celebrating my Ajax side becoming Champions Of Europe in just our 2nd season and not only that we had done the quintuple, yes we had won 5 trophies this season adding to the 3 we had won in season 1. The average age of our starting line up for the final was 21.7 years the youngest side to have won a European trophy. On the night I decided to live tweet updates on my twitter feed of the final which provoked a barrage of interesting interaction with my phone pinging direct messages constantly throughout the evening which made it a very enjoyable experience which I would like to thank all who messaged me and interacted with the live updates, I think I just about managed to reply to everyone.
Welcome to my opening post of season 2 with Ajax. After our success last year in securing the treble I decided to promote a few players in to our 1st team squad to continue their development by getting some quality game time at this level. The players who have moved up are Richairo Zivkovic a forward who is equally adept at playing in a wide position, Zivkovic was in and around the first team set up last season and will get his chance as we hope to challenge on all fronts. The next player making the transition to the first team is central defender Deyovaisio Zeefuik again I used Zeefuik a few times last season and I was impressed with his performance when stepping up, I have high hopes for the defender and will be watching his development closely. The next two players making the step up are both wide men in Justin Kluivert and Che Nunnely both will be valuable squad players fighting for a regular starting spot. Another wide player / forward coming in to the senior squad is Queensy Menig who returns from a loan spell at PEC Zwolle. Leeroy Owusu is another player returning from loan and will be the back up for Kenny Tete this coming season. Kaj Sierhus last seasons Jupiler League top scorer will be another going in to the first team squad, Sierhus looks like he could become a leading player in the Eredivisie over the next few years and will get his chance to shine this coming season.
Welcome to the Season 1 review from Amsterdam and what a first season it as been. I had originally planned for this post to be about our Jong Ajax side but after events at the weekend I decided to release this post first followed by a post on the Jong Ajax Squad and their development. At the start of this save I set out creating a tactical system that was influenced by Cruyff’s diamond, by the end of the season we were playing a modern day version of Totaal Voetbal that produced some eye catching performances has we went on the attack both at home and abroad.
Welcome to my latest post, in this post I am going to talk about how Hakim Ziyech has become my false 10 in the system that is evolving over time by trial and error. After watching and analysing game after game using my Cruyff inspired diamond it was clear to see the quality of my Moroccan playmaker Hakim Ziyech and his influence in most of the games we play. Ziyech was playing at the tip of the diamond for me as a Central Attacking Midfielder and whilst he was flourishing in this position I noticed that the AI was starting to continually play 2 Defensive Midfielders against us limiting the space of my Moroccan playmaker especially so in Europe so I decided to change things up a bit and started to experiment playing Ziyech in a wide position with the aim of him coming inside to weave his magic in the Zone 14 strata.
Welcome to the second post of The Diamond Inspired By Cruyff, this post will cover our first few games of the season playing with the Cruyff Diamond. I just wanted to get this post out to keep you updated on our progression. If you read my opening post you will know that I have taken full control of our Jong Ajax squad as well which is basically Ajax B team that play in the Jupiler League (2nd tier in Holland) and will have a separate post on their progress. One of the reasons for taking control of the B team was to slow my game play down so I wasn’t thrashing through season after season. So after a very experimental pre season we got our season underway way with a 5-1 win at PEC Zwolle which I covered in my last post so our next game was at home to NEC who we beat 4-1 playing a eye catching style of football that Mr Cruyff would approve. I opted to play on loan Bertrand Traore in the attacking midfield strata along with Vaclav Cerny in the Inside Forward role and Kasper Dolberg leading the line. The 3 combined well throughout the game and all finished with an average rating of 9.0 with both Traore and Cerny getting a goal. Despite Dolberg not getting on the scoresheet his performance was one of quality linking up the play to great effect throughout the 90 minutes. The NEC back line struggled to cope with our movement in the final third not only with our front three but the constant threat of the runs made by both our central midfield pairing of the youthful Donny Van de Beek and the elegant Davy Klaassen.