Atlanta United manager Frank de Boer explains the progress at Ajax

Atlanta United manager Frank de Boer has spoken about the principles which are offered at his former club Ajax. The Amsterdam outfit recently shocked the footballing fraternity with their stellar run to the Champions League semi-finals and Boer has credited the same to the work done through the academy.

Speaking in a press conference, De Boer revealed that he was initially a left-sided winger but the lack of attacking prowess meant that he settled into a defensive role, he said: “You see an attacker that doesn’t make it drop back, like me — I was a left winger. I came back in defence because I’m skilful to play, but I could also defend, and that makes me an Ajax player in that moment. We [Atlanta United] want to build up from that — like what Kansas City does.”

He added that the youngsters coming through the Ajax system are groomed with the club’s DNA from the very beginning such that they are up to the challenge when the opportunity comes to impress with the first-team, he further told: “It’s all about, in the beginning, the basic things and the technical ability. Not defending. And then it comes to the strength and the discipline of course — it’s like the Ajax DNA. It’s very strict. Every training has to be better, every pass has to be accurate.”

Ajax managed to defy the odds to reach the semi-final stage of the Champions League after beating the likes of Juventus and Real Madrid. However, they could not cross the hurdle to reach the competition’s final after they succumbed to a shock comeback defeat at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur.

Nonetheless, they have experienced a good season on the domestic scale with a League and Cup double and the emphasis should remain on maintaining the consistency when they return to action next term. Prior to that, however, Ajax are bound to lose some of the best performing players and that will include Frenkie de Jong, who has already agreed to join Barcelona.