Ajax’s unexpected march to the Champions League semi-finals has done much to highlight the dynamic young talent at the club but it was their decision to add more experience to the team that has proven key, claims coach Erik ten Hag.
Ajax, who visit Tottenham in Tuesday’s semi-final first leg and are chasing a domestic league and cup double, have always been a club prepared to field young players, but they made a conscious decision last year to inject more experience into the team.
Successfully fusing the two is what has proven the catalyst for a sensational season for the Dutch club, according to Ten Hag, who has been a quiet force driving the team to victories over Juventus and Real Madrid this season.
‘Marc Overmars and I made an analysis towards the end of last season. Our conclusion was that we lacked players in their mid-20s. We lacked experience,’ he said.
Ajax brought back Daley Blind, 29, from Manchester United and signed Dusan Tadic, 30, from Southampton.
‘We were also glad that Hakim Ziyech stayed on.’
The 26-year-old Morocco international had been set to leave at the end of the last campaign but did not find a new club.